Articles by Sandy Oliver


Zucchini Patties, Now and Next Winter, Too.

on Aug. 26, 2014, at 8:01 a.m.
Of course, I have zucchini in the garden. What gardener doesn’t? (Except perhaps for the smart people who only plant one plant.) This year I am growing Cocozelle and Costata Di Romanesco, plus a yellow patty pan called Sunburst, and a pretty yellow summer squash with a green end called …

Blueberry Treat for Breakfast

on Aug. 19, 2014, at 8:47 a.m.
Machias had its blueberry festival this past weekend, and other towns here and there in Maine have celebrated the fruit in the past couple of weeks. Toby and I celebrated blueberries for breakfast the other morning after spending a couple hours picking at a very prolific field not far from …

Squid for a Favorite Calamari Dish

on Aug. 11, 2014, at 10:15 p.m.
Three young fellows caught about forty squid last evening. My friend, Tres, and his friends Zan and Jacob took bright lights, a couple of squid jigs, and hauled a bunch of nature’s oddest looking creatures out of the waters around Moseley’s Dock. Then they came home and cleaned them. It …

The simplest summer berry dessert ever

on Aug. 05, 2014, at 9:42 a.m.
Except, maybe, for berries in a bowl, sprinkled with sugar, with cream added to taste. I’ve always called this a fool, a dish that has been around for centuries with lots of variations, some involving a custard-like mixture added to cooked fruit. I’ve heard it called mousse, also, but it …

There Are Beets in Your Hors d’oeuvres

on July 29, 2014, at 9:15 a.m.
A year or two ago, I attended a conference for food professionals where I always expect to see something new and different. Sure enough, during a reception, the wait staff passed around crostini with beets on them, topped with a bit of crumbled feta or blue cheese. Left to my …

Lobster Salad Is a Maine Classic

on July 22, 2014, at 9:49 a.m.
One good thing about lobster salad is that it is a neater way of eating lobster, and right now, when most lobsters seem to be the soft shells that squirt in every direction when you open them, it is good to keep all that mess in the kitchen and off …

Must-go soup or salad

on July 15, 2014, at 9:43 a.m.
A few weeks ago, I was in Rockville, just outside Rockland, having a grand time giving a talk about “Grandmother’s Recipes” at the beautifully restored Rockville Chapel. Some who attended brought samples of their grandmother’s handwritten recipe notebooks and others spoke about their memories of grandmother’s and mother’s cookery. I …

For Lunch, You Can’t Go Wrong with Cheese and Egg and Mayo

on July 08, 2014, at 7:46 a.m.
Our island’s summer community, which has been turning up here for over a hundred years, has organized a charming and beautiful community cookbook called Summer Food. It was published this week by the Tarratine Club, whose members sent recipes along with memories, where appropriate, for dishes they make when they …

Roasted Potato Salad with Tarragon and Walnuts

on July 01, 2014, at 9:31 a.m.
Sometime this holiday weekend, I bet you will need a potato salad. From time to time, I like a potato salad made the plain, old-fashioned way, with hardboiled eggs and a generous glob of mayo, salt and pepper, and maybe celery and a little minced onion. Surely, it is a …

Sautéed duck breast with currant sauce is a real treat

on June 24, 2014, at 9:56 a.m.
  Cooking the duck breast put me squarely in the Department of Don’t Believe Everything You Read. Either that or I have to buy a new instant-read thermometer. I don’t cook duck often. Actually hardly ever, or at least I don’t remember doing it before, though I wouldn’t rule out …

A kind of cassoulet: Lamb Shanks with Cannellini

on June 17, 2014, at 10:07 a.m.
Lamb is a luxury food around here. We served braised lamb shanks for a company dinner and actually ended up with leftovers–little bits of stray meat mostly, and some of the braising liquid. Shanks, which consist of a hunk of bone with some meat stuck on it, ought to be …

Simple, not-too-sweet Rhubarb Coffee Cake

on June 10, 2014, at 9:26 a.m.
Every year just about this time, I cast about for some new thing to make out of rhubarb. This year, our good friend Ruth Thurston in Machias, unasked, sent along a recipe for Rhubarb Coffee Cake. Her daughter had visited, and they tinkered with a recipe Ruth had clipped years …

A cheesy crowd pleaser

on June 03, 2014, at 9:12 a.m.
Once a week we have a community lunch at the Fellowship Room of our one year-round church. Even in winter, about twenty folks show up, listen to the music of a local jazz and old-time music band, have a cup of coffee or tea, eat lunch, and head back home …

Asparagus 3 ways, plus lemon aioli sauce

on May 27, 2014, at 8:01 a.m.
Of course, these days, you can buy asparagus any time of year, but right now is when it actually tastes good, if you acquire local stuff, or if you are lucky enough to grow it. I have a big row, and we have been snarfing it down now for two …

Start the day with spinach and kale

on May 20, 2014, at 8:25 a.m.
Oh, no, are we trending into “eat-your-vegetables-they’re-good-for-you territory?” Well, yes. But this stuff actually tastes good, too. I simply do not belong to the “hold-your-nose-and-eat-it” school of thought. And since I grow so much spinach and kale I need to find new ways of using it, because one can eat …

Two for the troops, Part 2: Date nut roll-ups

on May 13, 2014, at 7:48 a.m.
Here are cookies that went to Vietnam. Gina Doyle of Ripley sent along a recipe for a date nut-filled roll-up cookie originally named Railroad Cookie in response to Kendra Newcomb’s request for cookies to send to troops deployed in Kuwait. Gina wrote, “Many years ago my brother was stationed in …

Two for Troops and Travelers: Part One, Snickerdoodles

on May 06, 2014, at 9:50 a.m.
The questions was, “What can we bake to send abroad that won’t turn into rancid crumbs?” A couple of weeks ago, Kendra Newcombe in Searsport wrote, “My mission group has been asked to bake goodies to send to Kuwait. Any suggestions for good travelers that will stand up to the …

Cauliflower patties, Italian style

on April 29, 2014, at 10:07 a.m.
  Last week’s recipe prompted cauliflower memories from senior senior (93!) Lee Sirabella of Brewer. He wrote, “My mother and father came from an island but on the other side of the Atlantic, off Naples, Italy, the Isles of Ischia. My mother was a great cook. The trouble is I …

Cauliflower Steak for Dinner

on April 22, 2014, at 9:14 a.m.
The hardest part of cooking is figuring out what to fix. We all get into ruts with a regular routine of about twenty or so favorites that we rerun. I rely a great deal on taking a cue from the supply at hand—the freezer inventory, what’s in the vegetable drawer …

What to do with leftover Easter dinner: Ham and lamb

on April 15, 2014, at 10:25 a.m.
There is a lot of ham in the meat departments this week looking for an Easter Dinner invitation. Lamb is the roast of choice for many other households. With any luck, there will be leftovers to inspire suppers next week, or to freeze against a busy day in the next …
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