August 5, 2007
July started out with a bang for Hancock Gourmet Lobster Co. - our Cundy's Harbor Lobster Stew won a gold at the Fancy Food Show in New York. The awards are considered to be the "Oscar" of the specialty food industry so we are very honored.
Just to give you an idea of the food show, there are 72 countries represented, 2400 exhibitors and over 140,000 food products. Basically this show is one big food fest. You can eat yourself into one big food coma - everyone has samples and it's tough not to sample everything. Chocolate, cheese, jams and jellies, olive oils and vinegars, cookies, crackers, ice cream, water and more - and they are all very special. It was a yum-fest.
Maine was well-represented. Lots of buyers come to our booths because there is a perception that anything produced in Maine is good - and that's pretty much true. There are more and more companies in Maine that are going national to get our specialty products to folks across the country and sometimes the world. We are lucky we live, breath and eat here everyday.
Speaking of eating, the summer heat has had me thinking a lot about salads and all of the wonderful veggies and fruits and other goodies we can get at the local farm stands these days. If there's one food that really captures the essence of summer, it's salad. All kinds of beautiful, ripe produce are overflowing from gardens and orchards. When fruits and vegetables are at the peak of their season, there's no need to do anything fancy with them - they're just begging to be tumbled into a salad bowl and enjoyed in their raw, natural glory. Let the vivid, fragrant rows of lettuces, squash, berries, corn, cucumbers, peppers, peas, melons, and, of course, tomatoes, tempt you, and take home everything that looks good. I have wonderful neighbors who often leave goodies from their garden on my doorstep. I think this happens all over Maine - hope you're as lucky as I am.
Don't worry about how you're going to use all of this produce- you only need a salad bowl and an appetite! Fresh raw sweet corn adds a wonderful crunch when cut off the cob and sprinkled into a salad. Toasted nuts are all the rage - make a little gourmet magic of your own by tossing some pecans, walnuts, almonds or pine nuts into a skillet and stirring over medium heat until the nuts turn a shade darker and give off an enticing aroma.Summer Greens with Chicken and Berries
" 1/4 cup mayonnaise
" 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
" 1 tablespoon honey
" 1/2 tablespoon lemon juice
" 2 tablespoons orange juice
" 1 pound skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
" 8 cups mixed salad greens (any kind you want to toss in)
" 1 cup sliced fresh strawberries
" 1/2 cup fresh blueberries
" 1/2 cup fresh raspberries
" 8 ounces sugar snap peas
" 1/2 cup toasted pecans
" In a small bowl, whisk together the mayonnaise, mustard, honey, lemon juice and orange juice; set aside.
" Preheat the grill for high heat.
" Lightly oil the grill grate. Grill the chicken 6 to 8 minutes on each side, or until juices run clear. Remove from heat, cool, and slice into strips.
" In a large bowl, toss together the chicken, salad greens, strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, peas, and pecans. Pour in the dressing, and toss to coat.
Food ditty: Lettuce is any plant of the genus Lactuca. Its wild ancestors were commonly distributed in Europe and Asia in prehistoric times. A semiwild type called spindly lettuce grows in the Mediterranean, which suggests that lettuce cultivation probably began there. (from the Oxford Encyclopedia of Food and Drink in America).
I hope you're enjoying your summer. Fall is not far away.
Cal Hancock is the owner and President of Hancock Gourmet Lobster Co.
in Cundy's Harbor, Maine. She grew up in Cape Neddick, ate her way through college; lived in the Midwest and tasted lutefisk and other goodies and now lives in Cundy's Harbor with her husband, Jack and two golden retrievers, Sally and Gus.