Have you ever wanted to sell everything you own and just "take off?" Travel the country's back roads, paddle down a meandering stream, experience breath-taking mountain views, walk among 100-year old trees, and just marvel at America's beauty? That is the dream that my partner, Betsy, and I decided to make a reality. This blog describes our adventure. The food we eat, people we meet, sights we see, and the enjoyment we find in traveling.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011



Since we are still living in the land of blueberries (a.k.a. Maine), I am eating blueberries as fast as they are picked. One of my favorite ways to eat them is simply by the handful. But, since this turns my hands an awful shade of purple and is not the manners I learned in etiquette school, I have resorted to putting them on a plate as well (sometimes).

Salads are one of my favorite components of dinner and show up in many forms. I prefer to make my own dressing so it can be paired appropriately with the type of lettuce and salad ingredients. And, different type of salad dressing adds variety and means your refrigerator shelves will not be clogged with half used bottles of salad dressing.

The vinaigrette for this salad is so simple. Since flavored vinegars have become very popular, they are easy to find in most grocery stores and gourmet shops. If you can’t find blueberry vinegar try any other fruit flavor such as raspberry, strawberry, or pomegranate. You may need to adjust the amount of oil and add sugar depending on the sweetness and tanginess of the brand of vinegar you choose. The brand I prefer is Fiore which I discovered in Maine. They are a local company that has stores in Bar Harbor and Rockland (and their products are available on-line). Their vinegars and oils are wonderfully rich and flavorful. Large vats of vinegar and oil are scattered throughout their stores and offer tasting cups for all of their    products.  Combinations such as cranberry-pear vinegar and butternut squash extra virgin olive oil are sure to excite your palate. Once you decide what you want to purchase, it is poured into a dark bottle (which is ideal for storing vinegars and oils).

“Light and healthy” is usually not the philosophy I live by; therefore, I usually turn healthy lettuce into something more caloric and fattening than it was intended to be. In this salad, I pretend the health qualities of blueberries are counteracting the fat and calories of the fried goat cheese. If you feel guilty about frying the cheese just crumble some on top and that way you will only mildly feel guilty.

  • 1½ tablespoons blueberry vinegar (I prefer Fiore brand)
  • ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon shallots, minced

 Herbed Goat Cheese
  •  4 ounces goat cheese
  •  1 tablespoon chives
  •  1 tablespoon basil
  •  1 tablespoon rosemary
  •  1½ cups panko 
  •  ¼ cup flour
  •  2 eggs
  •  3 tablespoons olive oil

Spiced Walnut Brittle
  • ½ cup light Caro® syrup
  • ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • ¾ cup shelled walnuts

  • 4 cups mixed greens or spring mix
  • ½ cup fresh blueberries


Place all ingredients for the vinaigrette in a bowl and whisk until combined. Add salt and pepper, to taste. Reserve for later.
Place goat cheese in a bowl. Mince chives, basil and rosemary and combine with goat cheese. Form goat cheese into 2-inch disks approximately 2 inches in diameter and ¾ inch thick. Place in freezer for at least an hour or until firm. Set up a breading station with three shallow dishes – one for panko, another for flour and a third for egg wash. Make the egg wash by whisking eggs and 1 tablespoon of water. Coat each piece in flour, then in egg, then in the breadcrumb mixture. Place in refrigerator to chill.

Preheat oven to 350°F. In a bowl, combine caro syrup and cayenne pepper. Add walnuts and stir until nuts are well coated. Place nuts on a parchment paper lined sheet pan. Bake at 350° F for 15-17 minutes. Let cool and break brittle into bite-sized pieces.

Heat 3 tablespoons olive oil in a pan. Once the oil is hot, cook goat cheese for 2-3 minutes per side until golden brown. Remove from pan and place on a paper towel to drain. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Place mixed greens in a bowl and dress lettuce with vinaigrette. Place on plates and add goat cheese, walnut brittle, and blueberries. Serve immediately.

Below are pictures of Fiore in Bar Harbor.  I definitely recommend a visit if you are in the area, otherwise check out their website at http://fioreoliveoils.com/.
Fiore store in Bar Harbor, Maine.
Vats full of balsamic vinegar are available for taste testing and purchase.  Flavors include
dark chocolate, cranberry-pear, grapefruit, and fig balsamic.

Extra virgin olive oils from all over the world and flavored with creative ingredients
such as chipolte, meyer lemon, and blood orange.  They also have traditionally infused
oils like garlic and herbs de Provence.

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