A few weeks ago, our dear New Jersey friends Cindy and Bob Probert finally came to visit us at Rainbow Farm. We have a long history of, as Cindy says, “going places and eating and drink things” together, and we enthusiastically continued that tradition during the weekend they spent with us in Maine.
Even in Maine, we get summer days when it feels too warm to turn on the stove for dinner. So yesterday, when I got Ted’s daily text asking for my dinner thoughts, I responded almost immediately “Salade Niçoise.”
As its name suggests, this main dish salad originated in Nice, in Southern France. The original version included tomatoes, haricots vert (those lovely thin French green beans), anchovies, capers and Niçoise olives. It was served as a sort of crudité, alongside the main dish of meat or fish. I’m not sure when the additional ingredients we expect today — lettuce, potatoes, hard-boiled eggs, and tuna — were added, but they certainly take the salad to a whole different level.
In another lifetime, I longed to own a bed and breakfast in Maine. I even entered an essay contest to win one — Center Lovell Inn, in Maine’s Western mountains — the first time it was offered. After a similar contest this year, the woman who won back in 1993 will soon be turning the inn over to its new owners. But I’m older and wiser now, so no, I didn’t enter this time.
We visited One Dock Prime on the latter kind of June evening, when the chilly drizzle served as a reminder that summer wasn’t yet official. Thrilled to be seated next to the gas fireplace, I looked out to the deck, with its classic white wooden furniture, and bright red geraniums in blue and white pots. Soon enough, it would be the preferred place to dine, but for now I was happy to settle into a cozy upholstered chair and order a French 75 — a favorite cocktail not often found on drink menus these days.
Lately, I can’t seem to get enough of the hot/sweet taste of fresh ginger. I’ve poached rhubarb with it; grated it into a chutney I made to go with Ted’s barbecued beef brisket and just last night, Ted put slivers of ginger in the Thai-style mussels he cooked for dinner.
Ginger is wonderful cocktail ingredient — it goes especially well with rum, as in the classic Dark and Stormy, made with Gosling’s dark rum and ginger beer. In the little recipe book that came with a bottle of Bully Boy Boston Rum, the Ginger Smash naturally caught my eye.