It’s been a while since we last wrote our blog. We had a very busy summer & fall with wonderful interns helping us as well as delicious produce from the gardens. Now everything lies dormant (as well as us!!) under snow & ice. Since early December we have had frigid temperatures & a lot of snow & ice. It was really tough to heat our old historical Maine Inn when we had guests staying or dining with us but we managed along with cozy wood fires burning. New Year’s eve was our last evening serving dinner & all had a good time.
Now we are closed & doing all the catch up work that got put on the side burner.
This year our Christmas was especially wonderful because we had Mario’s brother & his family here from Switzerland . There were 6 of them plus all our immediate family which kept us busy cooking every night for 10 to 14 people. On Christmas Eve even Santa showed up to talk to our grandsons Elijah & Julian. They were amazed & very much in awe. Then Elijah helped his Dad prepare a delicious fresh salad from The greenhouse at the Tarbox Farm (starting him off at a young age) on Christmas day.
This Year We will be opening on Easter Sunday, April 20th. In the meantime we wish you all a happy & healthy New Year & please do come & see us in 2014.
chicory greens are in full swing and making their way into sides sautéed with
bacon, onions and honey and served with confit duck and homemade black currant
sauce. The currants themselves have just been delivered by a friend visiting from New York, so it’s time to do some
research on currant recipes! Rumor has it that our famous Maine blueberries are
about ready as well.
borage flowers have a sweet cucumber taste that jazz up salads, and our tempura
daylily buds were a big hit.
decided that I would attempt to make French macarons for our little Fourth of
July picnic. In the end the project turned out the worst sort of beginners luck
– wrong enough that there was definite room for improvement, but successful
enough to temp the foolish macaron neophyte into thinking she could get it
day I set out to make more, sure that this time, armed with all of my
“experience,” they would be perfect. Needless to say — that didn’t happen.
Instead they turned out even flatter, sadder, and more impossible.
definitely more of a visual learner. Where written recipes fell short youtube
instruction came through in a big way and third time turned out to be the charm
and produced some respectable looking macaroons – so look out for a dessert
There is a new feature on the inn’s front lawn (and no, it’s not a Swiss
flag). The addition is big, rocky, and really, really hot. Well, wait a few
weeks and it will be really, really hot.
the weekend! After Jay put his rock skills to good use and built the base, we
completed the dome on Sunday.
of mud and straw, there’s a lot of material that must be mixed. And we’re not
talking mixed in a cement truck or KitchenAid. We’re talking about a good old
sand–are measured onto a tarp. Then, KA-BAM! The stomping begins! The job is
very much enjoyable and leaves the stomper with much smoother feet (see the
pampered toes pictured).
dry for a couple weeks. It’s a shame it has to dry for so long, stomping sure
does work up an appetite!
chores. Emily has remained out in the garden doing battle with the cucumber
beetles, and occasionally the swallows, while I have moved into the kitchen (a
dubious improvement in climate with temps in there hitting 95+). Recent projects
have included candying pansies (much harder than it sounds), replenishing sauces
and desserts, experimenting with new flavors of scones and attempting to produce
tabboleh, baba ganoush and a yogurt-mint sauce. But to me this means much more
than just a menu change since I was entrusted with putting together all of these
various elements! Despite some performance jitters my Lebanese heritage pulled
through and I’m quite proud of the results. The first night we put it on the
menu I sat in the back room, not quite biting my nails, but at least imagining
that this was how parents must feel at a child’s first ballet recital. No orders
that night, but we sold two the following night to good reviews!
our goats, a sweet little boy by the name of Bobby, passed away this afternoon.
It’s a reminder to suburbanites like me who turn their rose-tinted sights on
sustainable food production that although the garden is full of new shoots and
buds there is another side to this particular coin. Poor Bobby was off for
about a week, but in the end he didn’t suffer long, had a beautifully sunny and
breezy last morning and he’s now resting peaceful under the cherry trees at the
bottom of the garden. We will miss his antics and goatee (no pun intended) in
the goat barn, but are glad for his sake that he’s no longer in pain.
Today, at our little inn on the Maine coast, I set out to plant sunflowers in the beds by the parking lot. I began
digging holes in the dirt, enjoying its coolness compared to the blazing
sunshine. After completing half a dozen, I noticed some bird-like shadows
circling my head. Birds tend to like gardening because it unearths lots of tasty
bugs and weeds, so I smiled and kept digging.
Moments later I
heard the rapid flapping of wings in my ear. The once-distant shadows were now
inches away from my head! Then my hat moved. The birds fluttered wildly around
me and weren’t leaving.
Confused, I looked upwards and the birds
attempted to peck me in the face. I got the message. I ran to take cover under
the nearest tree. The two circled the area again to make sure the threat had
been taken care of. It certainly had, I wasn’t about to go back out there and
mess with two angry parents!
Needless to say I didn’t think a
harmless act like planting sunflowers would result in such a fiasco. Of course,
when I talked with my bosses about the incident, Mario was quick to tell me that
he was behind the whole thing! Just two days ago he attempted to fix the parking
lot light. The light happens to have a bird’s nest on top of it. When he was
messing with the light, he said that the birds, which are tree sparrows, were a
little peeved, but did not attack him. “But they must’ve had enough,” Mario said
about the mother bird.
Let’s hope they give me a break, the sunflowers
aren’t getting any younger!
and double digging — the kind where you tell yourself you’re just going to do
so much and then find yourself in a panic to do twice that just to finish faster
– we have finished the vegetable plot. All that remains is to plant. We put in
our Mung bean sprouts yesterday, and now we have cucumbers, peppers, and French
beans left to go in.
hang-up when we couldn’t find graham flour) with three recipes baked. So far
Alton Brown’s recipe (http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/alton-brown/graham-crackers-recipe/index.html) is our taste favorite, but we now have to make the sacrifice of making pies and taste-testing them to see which works best as a crust.
starting to come in. The farmer’s market yesterday was boasting the first summer
squash and some beautiful baby carrots. For us that means it’s time to start
changing up the menu to incorporate all of that fresh veggie goodness, so stop
by and check out our changes!
all of the grass still in place, house-candied oranges, the after: fully
double-dug vegetable plot, graham crackers.
I Double Dog Dare you to Double Dig that Dirt!
As you might have guessed from the title, the last few days have been filled with double digging. The soppy soil that resulted from this last week’s rain gave us a brief respite, but the minute the sun did shine, Victoria, Adam, and I were at it again.
Double digging is a process for preparing beds for plants. If you would like to know the specifics of the process, here’s a video for you http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W85QmZgDxFk . If not, all you need to know is double digging requires you to dig into a row more than two times.
While very helpful to the plants, double digging also helps us gardeners get back into tip top shape! Those shovelfuls of dirt aren’t light, you know! I’ll admit that, in a moment of weakness, I was tempted to run to the road, flag over a truck and get one of the shipbuilders on their way to Bath to help us speed up the process a bit. But, alas, I decided the U.S. Navy could have their ships and I could help our garden. Pretty generous, right?
Luckily, this intensive work is all but finished. We have two and a half more rows to dig, compared with the seven we had a few weeks ago. Now if only the summer rain would let us finish…
although it is breaking up our final push to get the vegetables happily situated
in their plot. We settled for making the goats happy instead by giving their
barn its annual de-spidering. Turns out that cobwebs are pretty good at clogging
vacuum cleaners, but in the end we prevailed!
since there is always something to do around the inn, but rainy) day, so I
restocked chocolate chip cookies for the cookie jar – a popular tourist
attraction For the first time in my life I actually hit the recipe yield more
or less on the head, so my venture must have been blessed by the cookie
crackers and to figure out the perfect pizza dough and then a little friendly
competition for best toppings combination, but since we have to taste-test all
of them, everyone is a winner!
Working in any part of the kitchen can be stressful; pans sizzle with scalding oil, knives race up and down skinned onions. All the activity creates a microclimate in the kitchen similar to the deep jungle—only it’s Chef Mario one has to look out for, not big cats.
It’s to be expected that the bustle of so many bodies moving toward the good cause of making delicious food create a pile of not-so-tasty dishes. But that’s what dishwashers are for, right? And by dishwashers, I’m referring to the ten-fingered variety, not the box of chrome. On nights where help is needed, somehow I fit this description.
At first, the mound of metal rounds can be quite intimidating. Sometimes Lara or Mario will rush behind me and yell, “Sharp!” or worse, “Hot” and then I have one more hazard for my ever-hesitant mind to remember. After awhile though, I begin to actually…gasp….enjoy doing the dishes.
This, Mario says, is called the “Zen” of dishwashing. You get into the groove of rinse, wash, rinse, and the whole things feels rather relaxing. In fact, cleaning caked mushrooms out of a pot or scraping greasy pans to a shine (ok, not quite a shine per se, but certainly a nice matte finish) can be more satisfying than a glass of cold water. Some things in life aren’t easy to clean up, but at least we’ve got dishwashing!
the last couple of weeks since I’ve come up to Maine. One day it is sunny and
hot, the next it’s raining and I’m wearing a sweater. The upside is that all of
the baby plants we are transplanting are getting lots of water and doing really
well while we can plant them and not have to stand in a puddle! Today we
transplanted several sages, arnica, st. john’s wort and (my favorite
prospect) some cherry tomatoes in pots close to the guest rooms for some
up-close-and-personal farm-to-table (or mouth!)