One of the best parts about my work in cooking and writing about food is trying new recipes. I love it when readers share family favorites, both for the pleasure of tasting something different and for the joy of discovering the culinary history of our early Maine ancestors.
Swedish White Brownies came to me in an e-mail from Suzanne. The recipe sounded so good and so simple, I had to make them right away. Not having almonds in the house, I substituted vanilla extract, and skipped the almond topping, which meant I could share them with my friend Heather, who has a nut allergy.
Without the nuts, the texture reminds me of a pound cake: dense, chewy, sweet and rich. Yum! These brownies could also be the base of an easy and special dessert. Top them with wild Maine blueberries and a dollop of whipped cream. Or a scoop of vanilla ice cream drizzled with maple syrup. Or try lightly sweetened strawberries and fresh yogurt. The possibilities are endless. Be creative!
My friend Harold lives in Blue Hill, in a house surrounded by ancient oak trees. Among his many talents is foraging for mushrooms, and he shares them with foodies like me. As a bachelor, Harold enjoys gifts of good food and the occasional treats I drop by.
On a recent visit, we were comparing family notes, and I learned that his mother, Hazel Lilian, was the older sister of Pat Farnsworth, of Pat’s Pizza in Orono. Harold’s father was studying engineering at the university at the same time my grandparents were there.
Harold loves a good mess of clams, and makes a tasty clam stew with the leftover cooked and shucked clams. As he searched through a collection of yellowed, grease-stained index cards, he warned me that the recipe was not an original. He modified it from one that originated on the label from a tin of oysters. Simple, easy and delicious.
Creative folks here in Maine have been making food like this for generations. What’s your family favorite? Please send it along, I’d love to try it and share it with readers.
Cheryl Wixson lives and cooks in Stonington. She welcomes food-related questions and comments at [email protected].
Suzanne’s Swedish White Brownies
Yield 9 servings
1 cup sugar
½ cup melted butter
1 cup flour
1 tsp. almond extract (optional)
2 Tbsps. sliced almonds
1 Tbsp. sugar
Beat first six ingredients together.
Spread in greased, square, 8-inch pan.
Sprinkle with almonds and sugar.
Bake 30 minutes. At 325 F.
Cool and cut into squares.
Nutritional analysis per serving: 271 calories, 4 grams protein, 34 grams carbohydrates, 14 grams fat, (0 grams trans fat), 17 mg. Sodium, 1 gram fiber.
Harold’s Clam Stew
Makes 2 servings
1 cup shucked clams, with some water left from steaming the clams
2 cups milk
½ tsp. celery salt
½ tsp. paprika
¼ tsp. black pepper
tad of salt
2 Tbsps. butter
Simmer the clams and juice in the two tablespoons of butter. Meanwhile, heat the milk until it starts to form a skim. Add clams and the spices to the milk. Stir well and serve.
Nutritional analysis per serving: 372 calories, 28 grams protein, 15 grams carbohydrates, 22 grams fat, (0 grams trans fat), 281 mg. Sodium, less than 1 gram fiber.