Maine Roots

A blog about all things Maine

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Maine Brewers Festival this weekend!

Calling all Maine craft beer fanatics – get yourself to the Portland Expo this weekend for the 20th annual Maine Brewers Festival!

Enjoying a Maine craft brew - Allagash White - while supporting my Pats... and prepping for a cookout!

Enjoying a Maine craft brew – Allagash White – while supporting my Pats… and prepping for a cookout!

The event will be held on Saturday, November 2nd, and offers an opportunity to experience Maine craft beer in an energetic, enthusiastic atmosphere.  The festival includes two sessions, and attendees will receive a complimentary logoed tasting glass with tickets to enjoy twelve 4 oz. pours of local craft beer.  The festival also features great food and live music.

Dubbed, the ‘Happy Hour Session,’ the afternoon session runs from 1:30pm – 5pm, and the evening session is 6:30pm – 10:00pm.  Tickets are $41.  Buy them now!

Location: The Portland Expo, 239 Park Avenue, Portland, ME 04102

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Weekly Recipe: Chicken Soup

With fall in full swing and cold season picking up steam, it seemed to be the right time for a chicken soup recipe (apple pie is coming up this weekend!).  The following recipe is actually my own, created on the fly this Saturday with what I had on hand and the addition of just a few ingredients.  I should note that I rarely, if ever, make chicken soup exactly the same way twice.  Like lasagna and chili, I don’t follow an exact recipe anymore, and my results are consistently good, if slightly different, each time.

When I woke up on Saturday morning with a scratchy throat, it seemed wise to go on the offensive immediately, and between OJ, Airborne, and DayQuil, I was set for my day.  The next to-do on my list: pick up the remaining ingredients for chicken soup.  I had potatoes, carrots, and onion, so I decided to keep it simple and pick up chicken, chicken broth, and kale (I love adding kale to soups – it is so good for you, and wilted into the broth, just adds another flavor in addition to its nutritional benefits).  The recipe below serves 4-6.

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My full ingredient list:

  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped finely
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 4 medium size red potatoes, cubed to 1 inch pieces
  • 4 carrots, cut to 1 inch pieces
  • 4 cups chicken broth (I like a very chicken-y chicken soup – use water for half if you prefer a lighter flavor)
  • 2 cups cooked chicken (I like to use shredded, and in this case actually bought canned chicken for time’s sake)
  • 2 cups kale, stems removed
  • 1/2 teaspoon thyme (I used a 1/2 tablespoon, which was just a bit too much)
  • 1/2 teaspoon tarragon
  • Salt and pepper to taste

In a large pot, heat olive oil over medium heat.  Add onion and garlic and saute until tender.

Chop chop!

Chop chop!

Add white wine and simmer another minute, then add the potatoes and chicken broth and bring to boil.  Add the carrots and cook until tender, approximately 15-20 minutes.  Reduce heat to simmer and add chicken and kale.  Continue to simmer pretty much as long as you like – then add the seasonings to taste and serve.

Tastes good... and good for you!

Tastes good… and good for you!

Nick said he really liked this version, so perhaps I’ll keep this recipe on file and actually follow it in the future.  It would be also be yummy with the addition of other veggies – celery, corn, etc., and you could certainly add rice or noodles.

Hope everyone had a great weekend!  Do you have a favorite chicken soup or apple pie recipe to share?


Fat Friar’s Meadery: Part II, The Tasting

At long last, the product review is in!  As I mentioned in my anniversary and travel-themed post, Nick and I transported our bottle of Fat Friar’s Classic Mead to Virginia to enjoy during our vacation.

After speaking with Sean Bailey and sharing my thoughts on his meadery, Fat Friar’s, I was both excited and oddly apprehensive about trying mead for the first time.  I had no idea what to expect – and it certainly wasn’t what I anticipated anyway.

When I uncorked the bottle, I paused to smell the mead – as Sean said it would, it smelled very much of honey – sweet and fresh – with a hint of apple, at least to my nose.

Liquid gold!

Liquid gold!

From the first sip, I realized this beverage was very different from any I’d had before.  I was prepared for that, since Sean had recommended giving it several sips and a bit of time for evaluation.  It really can’t be fairly compared to a white wine, but it’s nearly impossible not to use that as a point of reference.

It’s important to note that while the mead smells strongly of honey, the flavor itself is much more subtle.  I could certainly taste honey, but it’s lighter and blends with fruit tones like apple and pear.  In this mead, Fat Friar’s aims for a semi-dry finish, so it isn’t overwhelmingly sweet, which I appreciated.

I suppose in terms of how light it is, you could compare it to a Riesling, but the comparisons end there.  It has a crisp flavor, but none of the tartness that some white wines show.  It seems like it would pair well with light, spicy dishes – like a white fish with Cajun seasoning, for example.

I’m looking forward to trying the other mead I have on hand, made by Maine Mead Works.  I’ll be sure to contrast and compare for you all, as I continue my mead education!  If you’re feeling inspired this Saturday, perhaps you’ll make the drive to Fat Friar’s, or Maine Mead Works, or any of Maine’s other meaderies, wineries, microbreweries, or distilleries (whew!), and support Maine’s local beverage businesses!


Maine Girl Travels!

In the weeks since my last post, this Maine girl has been on the road!  I’m sorry for the ‘blog neglect’ and hope to get back on track starting now.

To fill you in on where I’ve been, Nick and I celebrated our 3rd wedding anniversary on October 2nd.  Hooray!  We actually took a vacation – pretty rare for us – and spent a wonderful week visiting the beautiful Shenandoah Valley and surrounding mountains in Virginia, and we even made a brief trek up to State College, Pennsylvania.

Pretty shot of the mountains... snagged during my morning run!

Pretty shot of the mountains… snagged during my morning run!

We stayed at the Massanutten Resort in McGayhesville, Virginia and spent our days golfing and visiting wineries.  Massanutten has two golf courses, Woodstone Meadows and Mountain Greens – the latter is significantly more challenging, but I enjoyed playing it much more.  It is further into the resort and feels more remote – you’re surrounded by nature and mountain scenery, including the occasional, stunning vista.  The Woodstone Meadows course is a good beginner choice, as the fairways are flat and pretty straightforward.

We did venture into Harrisonburg for our anniversary dinner, which we spent at the Joshua Wilton House.  I love old, historic homes, and this inn and restaurant popped up immediately when I googled (who knew that would one day become an accepted verb in our vocabulary?) fine dining in Harrisonburg, VA.  Our experience was exceptional from beginning to end.

Happy Anniversary to us!

Happy Anniversary to us!

The atmosphere reminded me very much of Calhoun Corners, a nice restaurant in Clemson, SC (Go Tigers!).  They have maintained the feel of a home in the dining area(s) by setting tables up throughout the various rooms downstairs, which makes the dining experience feel unique and intimate.  Lovely furnishings and beautiful artwork came together with delicious food and excellent service to deliver a very special anniversary for us.

Did I mention the outstanding Creme Brulee?

Did I mention the outstanding Creme Brulee?

While on our trip, we did complete my Fat Friar’s Mead tasting!  Stay tuned for the review to come… and the return to ‘Maine’ topics!