Last month I took the long (And I mean LONG… like 15 hours with traffic long) road trip up Route 95 to Cherryfield, Maine. It’s a small town in Down East Maine. and just a short distance in from the eastern seaboard. It’s also not too far away from the Canadian border. It’s really up there! The reason for my journey up to this part of Maine was a family wedding. It’s hard to remember that I used to make this trip up to visit my grandparents, aunt and cousins multiple times a year.
Weeknight Paella is the result of the need for quick, satisfying meals during the week.
So often my weeknights are filled with long commutes and traffic home from work and running necessary errands. It’s a miracle that I’m able to put dinner on the table some nights but I always seem to manage. I envy people who are satisfied with just pouring a bowl of cereal and considering that a meal. My problem is that the very thought of something so mundane for dinner is depressing. My whole afternoon consists of the anticipation of dinner. It’s the next best thing after lunch has come and gone (spoken like a true food lover!). For example, knowing I might have a rendition of the Spanish classic, paella, for dinner which is a dish bright with flavor from the vegetables and peppery spices is exciting. It’s certainly more of a happy ending to the day then a simple bowl of cheerios (at least in my mind!).
Summer and seafood goes hand in hand. Growing up near the beach paired with countless trips to New England for summer vacations have spoiled me with delicious seafood year after year. I find myself craving all things from the sea as soon as the warm weather starts to appear. One of my favorite dishes to make is mussels. When bought fresh they are so tender and sweet. Mussels also soak up flavors very well. It’s so fun and easy to play around with the palate of flavors that can be paired with these morsels. Let’s not forget that the broth is what will be sopped up with crusty bread as the meal’s “side dish”.
During the summer I tend to eat a lot of salads. They are a cool and crisp relief on those sticky summer nights. With salad the possibilities are endless. Yet, I tend to fall into the same hum drum everyday salad routine. This year I have tried to break out of the monotony. First came, the Watermelon and Arugula salad (which was a big hit with all of you!) and now…. the Crab Cobb Salad Stacks.
Over the fourth of July I made my second annual visit to Rye Beach, New Hampshire with my fiancé and his family for their yearly holiday festivities. For those of you who didn’t get a chance to read about the serene, but small, stretch of beach that his family calls home here is a link to last year’s post. There is a fun little blurb on the area and reviews of two MUST visit restaurants. I was more than just a little excited to get my fill of Petey’s Seafood again this year. I had a plate of their famous fried clams in front of me less than 2 hours after my arrival (We don’t like to waste any time!).
A little over a year ago a co-worker of mine introduced me to i heart keenwah. They were a snack company on the rise with the launch of their quinoa clusters. These sweet and crunchy little snacks were so addicting that I personally reached out to the company to share my love for the brand. They reached out to do a partnership and giveway post with Behind the Plates which I happily took them up on. When I recently received an e-mail from them notifying me that their newest snack product had hit the market; I jumped on the opportunity to give them a taste.
I’m so excited to bring all of you today’s recipe. A few months ago my mother called to tell me she saw a recipe blogger challenge in the newspaper and she thought I should enter. It was sponsored by Healthy Solutions Spice Blends. After reading up on this company,founded by Shelly Wolcott, I found that its purpose was to bring healthy and affordable spice blends to households. Her spices are free of fillers and preservatives, most have no salt or sugar added, and there is no MSG in any of the blends. After reading about this small woman owned company and her initiative I knew I would love to help support its mission (And of course try to win the contest along the way!).
Everyone has their holiday meal traditions. One Italian customary meal that many families still partake in on Christmas Eve is the Feast of the Seven Fishes. This dinner celebrates the wait for Jesus’ birth. This commemorative meal became popularized in many Italian American homes and then began to spread. The Feast of the Seven Fishes is not something that my family participates in every year. However; we do have one seafood dish that is always included on Christmas Eve, calamari. My uncle hosts this night’s party and calamari marinara started to show up on the dinner table a few years back. Now I can’t picture Christmas Eve without it. Today’s recipe is my take on this symbolic holiday meal.
Growing up at the shore, I never vacationed to the famous Jersey beach towns that so many flock to in the summer months like Wildwood, Seaside and Long Beach Island. I was a mile from the beach so getting a hotel room in another beach town, just miles down the road, would be a bit silly. Instead, during the summer months we vacationed and explored the lakes and coastlines of New England states like Maine and New Hampshire.
Summer may be winding down but the food festivals and events sure aren’t. September is chock full of foodie friendly fun for the whole family. Seafood festivals are a plenty, learning about wine will be easy with all the tasting events, and Italian and German culture and cuisines both are getting some attention this month.