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This Saturday's dinner will feature a New England inspired menu. Some of you know that while I have been in Virginia since 1986, I am a transplant from New England. I moved to New Hampshire from New York when I was just going into first grade, living in Durham, Madbury, Dover and Portsmouth. My mom bought land across the Piscataqua River into Maine when I was going into high school and I stayed in Maine throughout high school then hopped from Maine to New Hampshire a few times until my move to Virginia. It is a beautiful region with lots of history, different cultural influences and friendly people.
New England is a region made up of seven states, but when I think of New England cuisine, sea food comes quickly to mind Yes, if I were cooking this dinner in Maine, I would surely include lobster, but some things are best left to be savored in the region. I URGE you to go to Maine for lobster! It is just not the same down here. But there are plenty of wonderful dishes inspired by New England food that do translate into deliciousness here.
In Maine, there is a French Canadian influence that brings simple, hearty fare to the table. We will experience that in our main dish of Tourtiere, which is a savory two crust pie filled with pork and beef, sometimes with potatoes, sometimes without.
But of course we have to include some fish, so I am making authentic Fish Chowder reminiscent of the best Fish Chowder I have ever had, which I devoured on a regular basis at Clarence's Chowder House in Portsmouth New Hampshire. I don't think they are there anymore, but the delicious memory lives on after more than 30 years!
Did you know that Parker House [Hotel] Rolls originated from what is now the Omni Hotel in Boston? The story goes that the chef got in an altercation with one of the guests and shoved the rolls angrily in the oven. They folded over and became crispy on the outside and soft on the inside, and thus Parker House Rolls were born! The oldest recorded recipe was from 1874 so something that has stayed around that long must be good, so I think we should try them!
From Plymouth, Massachusetts I am including Succotash, a combination that includes lima beans (butter beans here in the south) and corn with other hearty vegetables. There are many variations but some kind of beans and corn are always included.
I hadn't known there was a competition between Harvard and Yale for the signature sweet and sour beet dish, but sure enough, I found both! I am opting for the Yale Beets recipe for this dinner that uses lemon and orange juice instead of vinegar.
For dessert we trek back to the Parker House Hotel for a Boston Cream Pie. (not a pie, but a cake) Though mine won't be as fancy as the original, it will be delicious with a real cream filling sandwiched between layers of moist yellow cake, topped with a chocolate glaze. Oh my! So here is the Menu for Saturday, September 14th, 2019:
Fish Chowder with Seasoned Oyster Crackers
Tourtiere made with Beef and Pork
Parker House Rolls
Boston Cream Pie
Sparkling Water, Tea, Coffee
(you may bring your own beer or wine)
$20 per person Reservations required.
Call (804) 892-7588