About lulu

I am a fiber artist with special emphasis on weaving, but I love working with threads and cloth in a variety of mediums. New ideas, new ways of connecting threads are the spice of life.

Lobster Mac ‘n Cheese

lobsterYou know that 2 pound lobster that was on my plate earlier this week?  Well, it didn’t all get eaten, and the claws came home.   Luckily, there was just enough meat in them for lobster mac ‘n cheese.

I read somewhere that Ina Garten gets the credit for popularizing lobster mac ‘n cheese, but I’m thinking a Mainer would tell you it started right here!  What makes it such a great dish to prepare is there’s no end to the possibilities. You can use a variety of pastas and the cheese combinations…..well, use your imagination!  The only consistent ingredient is the lobster, a little or a lot depending on what you have on hand.  Here’s my combination of ingredients this time around.

lobster mac 'n cheeseLobster Mac ‘n Cheese

8 oz. pasta, your choice

2 T. butter

3-4 T. shallot or red onion, finely chopped

2 T. flour

1 c. milk + 1/2 c. heavy cream or 1 1/2 c. half and half

1 t. Dijon mustard

1 4 oz. package cream cheese

2 oz. smoked Gouda, grated

1 c. cheddar cheese, grated

salt and pepper to taste

1 1/2 – 2 c. chopped lobster meat

Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain and return to pot.

Melt butter over medium heat in large saucepan.  Add shallot/onion and sauté until soft.  Add flour and stir for 1 minute.  Stir in milk and bring to a slight boil, whisking constantly.  Remove from heat and add mustard, cheeses, salt and pepper and stir until cheeses are melted.

Mix in  pasta and lobster and pour into a lightly buttered baking dish.  Bake at 350 for 20-25 minutes.  Serve with chopped chives on top.

The good thing about lobster mac ‘n cheese is that it requires nothing more than a lovely green salad to be a most satisfying meal for kids and adults.  Enjoy!

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Full Plate Thursday

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Foodtastic Weekend

Serendipity

When my blog friend Cuisine Kathleen issued a challenge to create an end of summer table, I thought I can’t do this.  Summer comes late to Maine and leaves early, and I want to hold on to its sunlight and bright colors as long as possible.

Camden HarborThen serendipity stepped in as the hosts for our August gourmet gathering chose to take advantage of summer’s fleeing moments by having our dinner outside. Nothing could have been more perfect than overlooking beautiful Camden Harbor and the Camden Hills at twilight.

Maine gourmetEverything about the evening was just right from the simple table to the lobster that was on the menu.

Maine gourmetSee the rocks on the table?  They are for cracking the lobster claws.  

Maine gourmetOther crackers were available, but you’ve got to have some real muscle power to crack those claws when the lobster is hard shell.

Maine gourmetAdding a touch of late summer were the hydrangeas which are just beginning to bloom and will last through the fall, turning pink as the season changes.

Maine gourmetAfter an enjoyable hour catching up on all our summer activities, dinner was served.  This, my friends, is a 2 pound lobster, baked and stuffed with a mixture of clams, crab, shrimp and scallops.  Talk about a great way to bid farewell to summer!

Camden HarborAs evening fell, and we were surrounded by the beauty that is Maine, we all expressed our gratitude for shared friendship and for being in a place we so love.  I am a very lucky girl and very grateful to the friend who made it possible for me to share in Cuisine Kathleen’s challenge!

i so appreciate your visit and the comments you leave behind

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Let’s Dish

Tablescape Thursday

Eagle Island: A Favorite

One of my favorite islands to visit is Eagle, for us about a 30 minute boat ride from Rockport Harbor.  It is a 263 acre island that once was prosperous and, if memory serves me, was home to a casino. Today, Eagle is owned by and home to one family with a long Eagle history and to vacationers who rent a cottage there for a real get away from it all experience.
Eagle IslandArriving at the dock, we share space with the owner’s lobster boat.
Eagle Island,lobster buoysTraps line the dock, and buoys hang from the shack ready for the next time to be put out.
Eagle IslandWalking along paths to explore the island, there are remnants of times past. Eagle IslandIt’s easier to leave worn out vehicles and farm equipment where they fall than to get them off island.

Eagle IslandEagle IslandEagle IslandEagle IslandIf the island owners are to be found, we can get a key that allows us to visit the old schoolhouse that hasn’t been used since the 1950’s.  I love this building with its old fashioned desks and that was once heated by a pot belly stove.  There are books and magazines there that date back to the early 20th century, and the blackboard is filled with signatures of visitors.

Eagle IslandA real treat is meeting Mr. Quinn who in his dry Maine way can entertain for hours with tales about the history of Eagle and Butter Islands.  If we are really lucky, he  reads us some of the humorous poems written by his grandfather.  My all time favorite of Mr. Quinn’s lines  is when asked how people found out about renting on the island, he answered that his daughter did something online but he didn’t know anything about that.  The only line he knew about was the one attached to a lobster pot!  I still chuckle remembering that response.

Eagle IslandIf a summer visit is timed right, it’s possible to find sun warmed raspberries bursting with flavor growing along a path.  I can assure you they never make it back to the boat!

Eagle IslandViewing the canvases that are sunsets and sunrises off Eagle is reason enough to anchor and spend the night.  When night falls, a velvety sky fills with stars twinkling like diamonds, another of the gifts found in Maine.  Is it any wonder I love this place?

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Let’s Eat!

Some of you have asked how we manage food on the boat when we are on a multi day trip.  Actually, it’s pretty easy.  As mentioned earlier, the galley is equipped with a refrigerator and freezer plus a microwave/convection oven, so I make things ahead that can be kept cold and heated as needed.

peach pancake/foodFor breakfast, there’s cereal, blueberry muffins and one morning pancakes with caramelized peaches, not a bad way to start the day.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOh, and let me not forget to mention that my frother for morning coffee goes everywhere with me!

foodLunch is generally an easy to put together sandwich served simply and eaten underway.

 boattablescapeWhen we have dinner aboard, there are real dishes that make for a happy table.

 boat tablescapeAs you might guess, everything tends toward the nautical

nautical flatwareand even the flatware is in keeping with the theme.

boat tablescapeI do cheat a little when it comes to plastic stems with with skid proof bottoms, very practical for use on a boat.

boat tablescapeWhen we are going to be on the boat several days, flowers are a must to make things seem more homey.  When they are not on the table, they rest in the galley sink so as not to spill when we are underway.  There’s always a little something more to think about when you are on a boat!

boat tablescape/foodFor dinner, I pop a casserole or quiche into the microwave and in minutes we have  a dinner as good as most I fix at home, and you know what?  It tastes even better when we are on the water beneath a twilight sky.

So there you have it, eating on the boat and you are welcome to join.

i so appreciate your visit and the comments you leave behind

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Tablescape Thursday

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The Last Legs

The last legs of the Nova Scotia adventure were to Shelburne and Lunenburg on the south shore.  Luckily, most of what there is to see is near the wharf which made it easy for us to explore.

ShelburneI found it interesting that Shelburne was settled after the American Revolution by people who wanted to remain loyal to the British Crown.  Many of the homes in the old town date back to the late 1700’s and have been quite well maintained.

ShelburneShelburneShelburneOne such house is open for touring, allowing one glimpses of life in times past.  Of course, a table setting caught my eye as did the handwoven overshot coverlets so typical of the period.

ShelburneShelburne is home to a historic dory maker, and seeing those crafts reminded me of many a painting of fishermen in stormy seas.

ShelburneAs lovely as this historic site was, what I liked best was the evening sunset over calm sea and clear sky!

Another 3 hours up the coast to Lunenburg, and by now I’m very glad for the 24 knot speed of our boat .  Much of this journey was off shore meaning there was not very much to see, so it made me happy that we got from place to place much quicker than if we were sailing or had a much slower power boat.

LunenburgAnyway, to Lunenburg, a seemingly popular tourist spot full of color.  There were plenty of shops and eateries, all crowded with summertime visitors.

Fleur de SelLunenburgLunenburgThe best part of this stop was dinner at Fleur de Sel located in the heart of historic Lunenburg.  The French trained chef uses local ingredients to create a tasty menu.  The food was presented beautifully and  just as good as it looked.

A week of travel on a boat is many things from foggy weather to choppy sea to impossible moorings  to breathtaking sunrises and sunsets to meeting new and interesting people.  Though all of it is part of the adventure, I have to confess this was not my favorite trip.  We covered a lot of miles not to have seen more than we did.  To top it all off, we had a little mechanical difficulty at the end of the trip that made docking the boat  more than a little challenging.  Oh well, it’s the doing that counts and makes life continually interesting.

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On To Yarmouth

Swan's Island

Trekking back to the boat after last night’s concert, fog was settling in,

Swan's Islandand by morning Swan’s Island was completely socked in,

Swan's Island/lighthousequite a contrast to yesterday.

Though traveling in fog is not my favorite way to boat, thanks to great radar equipment we headed on out, destination Yarmouth, Nova Scotia.  The fog never lifted, so we saw nothing along the way, and Yarmouth was as foggy.  Bummer!

YarmouthLuckily, near the wharf was an antique shop where I know many of you would have found a special treasure.

antiques/bottlesAs for me, I’d like to have had a few of these bottles, but I had no cash and the dealer didn’t take credit cards.  Oh well, I probably didn’t need them anyway.

YarmouthWalking back to the boat, I glimpsed this window in a marine supply store.  It added color to an otherwise gray day.

Yarmouth/fishing boatsWhen the fog lifted, there were some interesting sights, like the fishing boats that left early evening to throw their nets at night.  I guess that is so they don’t interfere with daytime boat traffic.

Yarmouth/fishing boatThey carry little boats on the stern.   If any of you know what the purpose of the smaller boat is, I’d love to know.

YarmouthAs the sun began to drop, gulls and cormorants flocked to an island near the wharf and made the most raucous noise.  Interestingly, I was told, the island used to be covered with trees but now there are only a few stubs thanks to the acidity of the gull poop.  You never know what you are going to learn at a marina!

Yarmouth/sunsetLuckily, the fog began to lift just as the day ended letting the magnificent colors of sunset shine through.  Once again I thought what an incredible artist God is.

sunset/anchor

Speaking of art, this photo taken early morning reminds of an abstract painting, but it is a large anchor silhouetted against the sky.  You never know what is going to capture your eye through the lens of a camera!

YarmouthSo much for Yarmouth.  After a quiet night, we are once again prepared to move on.  As we left the harbor, what we hadn’t seen the day before bid us farewell.

Yarmouth/lighthouseWho knew there was a lighthouse at the outer harbor?  If it had welcomed us, we totally missed it!

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Underway!

Pipe DreamsPipe Dreams is fueled and ready.  All necessities are stowed away, so let’s get this adventure underway.

Swan's Island

Swan’s Island

First stop on the journey to Nova Scotia is a 2 hour jaunt to Swan’s Island, one of the 15 or so Maine islands that is inhabited year round.  

Swan's IslandAs you might guess from the lobster boats anchored in the harbor, most residents earn a living fishing, and they are protective of their space both on the water and the shore.  Swan's IslandThe island is also a great escape for those wishing to experience a more tranquil existence.

Swan's IslandThe reason for our going there is to attend the very quirky Sweet Chariot Music Festival that for 26 years has brought together a potpourri of musicians from the East and West Coasts who enjoy getting together to casually entertain an enthusiastic audience.

Swan's IslandHours before the show, the performers cruise the harbor serenading all of us on our boats with sea chanteys.

Swan's IslandA flotilla of small craft ranging from kayaks to dinghies to motor boats accompany them.  I have to say this is one of those events that is totally a Maine thing, and there is such absolute joy in that!

Swan's IslandThe performance is in a very old building slightly more than a mile trek from the harbor, so we get a little exercise thrown in.

Swan's IslandAlong the way, enterprising youngsters sell lemonade and cookies, and they have lots of eager customers who are huffing and puffing up the hill.

Swan's IslandThe concert appears to be something of an opportunity for socializing as the crowd gathers early to gossip and greet friends.

Swan's IslandSwan's IslandSwan's IslandSwan's IslandInside, it is crowded, and the chairs are hard, I mean really hard, but once the show begins all anyone focuses on is having a good time.

There’s more to the Swan’s Island story than I am telling.  That has a lot to do with me trying to pull in a mooring ball that had about 500 pounds of kelp on it without allowing the line to touch the varnish on the trim.  The hubby just didn’t get that that was an impossible feat, so use your imagination to fill in the blanks.  It may be a very good thing that nobody was photoing that part of the experience because it was a comedy of errors.  There’s likely more to come!

i so appreciate your visit and the comments you leave behind