Visiting a good friend on an island in Penobscot Bay that shall go unnamed, we went for lunch to the home of a family member that is the epitome of elegance married with exquisite taste. Even the powder room flowers were magnificent, to say nothing of the outdoor porch or the view across water to other islands. Lunch, served by a charming man who is the general factotum, began with the stupendous soup at the end of this post. The kitchen is manned (well, actually womaned) by a female chef who has been with the house’s owners on and off since 2005.
Getting here from New York was horrific due both to traffic and it being August 1 when a lot of the world heads north. It took three of us driving shifts about ten and a half hours, partly in bumper-to-bumper. We arrived just after a microstorm hit, knocking out power in part of the island so that the folks who had kindly invited us to dinner brought the meal over and cooked it at my hostesses’ house (she has a generator.)
This morning, after admiring the handsome stable next door with two young riders taking a lesson in the outdoor ring, I ambled down to the beach to sit on a log and gaze at sailboats lazing in the water. Other than birds and bees, it was exquisitely quiet, a great contrast to noisy New York. Flowers were blooming, apple trees bearing fruit, lettuces, squash, cucumbers and herbs galore are growing and the whole is pretty idyllic –especially after you’re out of the car.
Later, we went to hear Charles F. Gauvin, Executive Director, Maine Audubon, talk about Maine’s Iconic Wildlife as it is affected by climate change. Mr. Gauvin spoke eloquently about endangered fauna of the area including the brook trout,
Canada lynx and blackpoll warbler and set out goals for us who want to be sure there are sufficient “critters” around who can adapt to rising temperatures. Here’s a link to Maine Audubon: www.maineaudubon.org (most Audubon’s are separate organizations– here’s how to find one near you : www.audubon.org/audubon-near-you).
Then home to a delicious dinner, in part, a salad picked from the bumper crop of lettuces and arugula in the kitchen garden. It doesn’t get much better.
Corn Chowder Lou Jane Temple
(my guess is this amount serves 10 generously- for less decrease proportionately)
12 ears corn preferably the kind with white and yellow kernels
1/2 gallon milk
1-2 zucchini or yellow summer squash, diced
3-4 tomatoes diced (she specifies homegrown but any good market ripe tomatoes will work)
1 yellow or red pepper of 1/2 each,; diced
1 jalapeño, quartered and seeded
1 stick butter
3/4 lb cream cheese
salt, pepper and hot sauce, such as Tabasco to taste
Shuck the corn and cut kernels off the cob, then halve them (or roughly chop)
In a good sized stock pot, scald the milk. When it rises in the pot, throw in half the corn. Turn off heat, put the lid on the pot and steep for at least 20 minutes.
In large, heavy saucepan, melt the butter. Add onion and sauté over low heat until translucent., about 12 minutes. Add squash, pepper and jalapeno and cook another 5 minutes. Add the other half corn and cook another 5 minutes. Add tomatoes and cream cheese, cut into chunks so it will melt better. Cook, stirring often, until cream cheese has completely melted about 10 more minutes. Add this mixture to milk and corn mixture.
(Note: she makes the recipe up to this point the day before so the flavors “marry.”)
When you’re ready to heat, do it slowly so you don’t scorch the bottom of the pot. Taste and add salt, pepper and Tabasco seasonings before serving.