When a Writer’s Not Engaged in Her Employment . . .

IMG_0028Kate Flora here, feeling very guilty about today’s blog topic. The truth is that since I finished a book a couple weeks ago, I’ve been having a very hard time staying focused on work. I have plenty of work and it is sitting beside me right now, glaring as only an unedited manuscript can glare, while I’ve been reading cookbooks.

They say that if you have a place on the water in Maine, in the summer you will have a lot of friends. Well, yes we do, and yes, we do. And friends, at least in my house, have to be fed. Normally, I have a few signature dishes each summer that I keep in rotation. This year, because I had my head in a book for so long, I’m only now awakening to the fact that vegetables abound, it’s time to fire up the grill, and other people tend to eat three meals a day instead of my distracted two. So I’ve had to jam on my thinking cap and make a couple runs to the grocery store. Otherwise, my guests would find a table well-stocked with books–at our house the bookshelves overflow and we even use stacks of books for doorstops–and very little food.

So what is going to be appearing on the menu this summer, you’re wondering? Do writers cook like IMG_0373the rest of us? We don’t recall many recipes in Kate’s books, except in the Thea Kozak mysteries. Well, here’s a quick rundown of what the guests were served on a recent weekend:

Quiche with caramelized onions, roasted asparagus, cheddar and bacon, with fresh cantaloupe and Fran’s quick and dirty mini-blueberry lemon muffins.

Teriyaki-marinated grilled salmon with roasted farmer’s market vegetables and crisp, hot cheese bread.

Cinnamon bread French toast with yogurt and fresh fruit. And yes…more bacon.

IMG_0442Arugula salad with burrata cheese, prosciutto, and quick pickled nectarines and red onion.

Am I making you hungry yet? Well, because I like to test you and see if you’re really reading this, I’ll make a deal. In your comments, share a quick and dirty summer recipe, and I’ll give you the recipe for anything here that sounds good to you.

Meanwhile, in anticipation of some vegetarian guests, I’m reading a wonderful cookbook called Plenty by Yotam Ottolenghi. And planning to make this wonderful dish: IMG_0676











Oh. And here’s Thea’s recipe for Quick and Dirty Bluefish Pate:

A chunk of smoked bluefish…about 8 oz.

1 pkg. cream cheese

1 T. bottled horseradish

Lemon juice.

Throw into your food processor and process until smooth. Taste and adjust seasoning. Salt, pepper, more horseradish? If it feels too thick to spread easily, thin with a bit of cream or half-and-half.

Serve with crackers or sliced English cucumbers. You can also make this with Ducktrap Smoked Trout.

Happy eating!


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8 Responses to When a Writer’s Not Engaged in Her Employment . . .

  1. Lea Wait says:

    Having just said good-bye to guests and plunged into a three-week marathon to complete a manuscript … I’ll add that (maybe not fancy, but quick and good) grilled steak, hamburgers and chicken were on our menu … along with fresh corn (my husband then simmers the cobs and leaves a base for later chowders or soups), blueberry pie (I cheat and buy pie shells, and often add other berries to the blueberries), a selection of Maine-made cheeses, home-made hummus, chowder, fried haddock, and salads with fresh-from-the-farmer’s market tomatoes and greens. Oh — and mussels in wine. Simple — and that broth can be frozen for future use, too. Your recipes sound wonderful, Kate! And more elegant than mine.

  2. Kate Cone says:

    We are about to get house guests for my hubby’s 80th birthday party, which thankfully will be a lobster bake on Cabbage Island. But I was just semi-stressing out about feeding 7 the eve of the party.

    I discovered Silver Palate’s Basque Salad last summer and everyone loves it. You can put it together hours before serving. I also sub quinoa for the rice called for, but I highly recommend it. Just do a Google search for “Silver Palate Basque Salad,” and you’ll find it.

  3. Mary Anne Sullivan says:

    You ladies made me hungry! Too lazy to dig out my “guest” recipes now but I think I’ll be ordering Plenty from Amazon in the near future.

  4. Edith says:

    Yes, I’m hungry!
    Real Greek Salad
    I learned this from my great friend Marios Fourakis, and make it only in summer when everything except the olives and cheese are homegrown.

    Gold cherry tomatoes, halved.
    Skinny cucumber, cut into small bite-sized pieces
    Fresh feta cheese, cubed
    Kalamata olives
    Fresh oregano leaves

    Combine all in a flat dish, drizzle with good olive oil, and serve with crusty bread to soak up the oil and juices. Quick, easy, cheap, and tastes like summer.

  5. Linda Lord says:

    If I had such a recipe I would share it. Thanks for yours!

  6. Ruth Nixon says:

    With 2 small grandkids in the house we don’t eat fancy. We are surrounded with small farms and farmers markets.Started early this year with the boys picking blueberries each day from our test on seeing if they would grow here and now our tomatoes. Dixon is know for our corn so lots of that and local melons berries and stone fruit.They aren’t big meat eaters but lots of chicken cooked different ways.

  7. Monica says:

    Easy peasy peanut butter cookies:

    The recipe for the quiche sounds good!

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