American Lighthouse Cookbook

American Lighthouse Cookbook
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You are invited on a culinary journey across America to visit 47 lighthouses, read dozens of short stories about them, and sample more than 300 recipes from eight coastal regions of the United States The American Lighthouse Cookbook (see the index) celebrates the local cuisines that have long been the staple of lighthouse keepers. Arranged geographically in eight regions of America, the lighthouses were chosen for their interesting backgrounds and stories. Following the story of each lighthouse is a menu for a modern-day lighthouse meal.



Mussels with Tomatoes and Herbs
Beavertail Lighthouse, Rhode Island
Shelling the mussels allows for a natural break in eating that can be filled with good conversation.

48 mussels (about 3 pounds)
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 tablespoon chopped garlic
1 cup tomatoes, seeded and chopped
½ cup dry white wine
½ cup chicken stock
¼ cup chopped fresh parsley
¼ cup chopped fresh oregano
1 teaspoon salt, optional
¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1. Rinse the mussels under cold water and remove beards.
2. Heat a large saucepan over high heat. Add the oil to the pan, and after 1 minute, add the garlic and cook until aromatic. Stir in the mussels, tomatoes, wine, stock, and herbs. Cover and let mussels steam for 5 minutes. Discard unopened mussels.
3. Add salt and pepper to taste.
4. Transfer the contents of the pan to a large serving bowl.
Yield: 4–6 servings
Preparation time: 15–20 minutes
Cooking time: 5–7 minutes

Watercress, Walnut and Pear Salad
Fenwick Island Lighthouse, Delaware
Peppery, salty, and sweet, all on one plate.

1½ pounds watercress
½ cup walnuts, toasted
1 Bartlett pear, cored and sliced
1 tablespoon cider vinegar
1 teaspoon brown mustard
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1. Wash and dry the watercress. Remove thick stems. Chop watercress into bite-sized pieces. Combine the watercress, walnuts, and pear slices in a bowl.
2. In a separate bowl, mix the vinegar and mustard together. Whisk in the olive oil to make a vinaigrette.
3. Toss the salad with the vinaigrette, salt, and pepper.
Yield: 6 servings
Preparation time: 5–10 minutes

Roasted Potatoes with Capers and Feta
St. Johns Light, Florida
The Menorcan influence is obvious in this dish.

4 russet potatoes
5 tablespoons vegetable oil, divided
3 onions, sliced
¼ cup capers
½ cup feta cheese
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
1½ teaspoons salt, divided
¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1. Preheat the oven to 400ºF.
2. Rub the potatoes with 2 tablespoons of oil. Bake until easily pierced with a fork, about 60 to 70 minutes
3. While the potatoes are baking, heat a pan over medium-low heat. Add remaining oil. Stir in the onions and 1 teaspoon salt. Cook the onions until they are a golden brown, about 50 to 60 minutes. Stir occasionally.
4. Remove the potatoes from the oven and roughly chop into 1-inch pieces. Place in a metal or glass bowl and mix with the onions, capers, feta cheese, olive oil, remaining salt, and pepper.
Yield: 4–6 servings
Preparation time: 5–10 minutes
Baking time: 60–70 minutes

Bebida Champola de Guayaba (Creamy Guava Drink)
Faro de Arecibo, Puerto Rico
A refreshing drink that can be tailored to your sweet tooth.

2 (12-ounce) cans evaporated milk
24 ounces guava nectar
½ cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups ice

1. Pour evaporated milk, guava nectar, sugar and vanilla into blender. Blend for 15 to 30 seconds.
2. Add ice and blend until ice is mostly dissolved.
3. If at the beach simply pour over crushed ice.
Yield: 4–6 servings
Preparation time: 5 minutes

Texas Caviar
Port Isabel Lighthouse, Texas
A new Texas classic, great as an appetizer, a side, or a vegetarian main dish.

2 (15-ounce) cans black-eyed peas, drained
1 red onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 celery stalk, diced
1 small red bell pepper, diced
1 tablespoon seeded and diced jalapeño pepper
Zest of 1 lime
¼ cup lime juice (about 2 limes)
¾ cup extra virgin olive oil
¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro
1 teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1. Combine the black-eyed peas, onion, garlic, celery, bell pepper, and jalapeño.
2. Toss with the zest, lime juice, and olive oil. Add the cilantro, salt, and pepper.
Yield: 6 servings
Preparation time: 15–20 minutes

Sautéed Ribbons of Zucchini, Yellow Squash, and Carrots
Point Vicente Lighthouse, California
A colorful, yet simple way to serve vegetables that are plentiful during many months of the year in nearly every part of the country.

2 zucchini
2 yellow squash
2 medium carrots, peeled
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced
1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
½ teaspoon salt
⅛ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1. Draw a vegetable peeler over the vegetables, making long ribbons. Ribbon the zucchini and squash only down to the seeds.
2. Heat a medium sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add the olive oil. When heated, add vegetables. After 1 minute, add the garlic and thyme.
3. Toss vegetables with salt and pepper while cooking for 3 to 5 minutes, or until just softened.
Yield: 4 servings
Preparation time: 20 minutes
Cooking time: 5 minutes

Cedar-Planked Salmon
Point No Point Lighthouse, Washington
The wood gives the salmon such a heady flavor.

2 cedar or alder planks (can be purchased at any gourmet store)
6 salmon fillets (about 6 ounces each)
2 tablespoons extra virgin oil
1 teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1. Soak the planks in water for 2 to 4 hours.
2. Start the grill.
3. When the coals are red-hot, position the rack 4 inches from heat. The coals are the right temperature if you can only hold your hand above the rack for a count of 3.
4. Arrange the fillets on the planks, drizzle with oil and season with salt and pepper. Place planks on the grill, and cover. Cook for 15 to 20 minutes, depending on the thickness of the fillets.
Yield: 6 servings
Preparation time: 2–4 hours for planks, and 2-3 minutes for salmon
Grilling time: 15–20 minutes

Chocolate Fudge Cake
Grosse Point Lighthouse, Illinois
This is a brownie-like cake that’s great for anyone with a sweet tooth.

2 cups cake flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
2 ounces sweet baking chocolate
2 ounces unsweetened baking chocolate
9 tablespoons butter, softened, divided
1⅛ cup sugar
2 extra-large eggs
2½ tablespoons apple cider vinegar
Cocoa Frosting (recipe follows)

1. Preheat the oven to 325ºF. Butter 2 (9-inch round) cake pans with 1 tablespoon of butter.
2. Mix the dry ingredients in a bowl.
3. Melt the chocolate in the microwave on medium heat.
4. In electric mixer, cream together 8 tablespoons of butter and sugar until fluffy. Add the eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Pour in the vinegar and melted choco¬late, and mix well.
5. Slowly add the flour mixture, mixing until fully incorporated.
6. Spread the batter into the prepared cake pans.
7. Bake 30 minutes, or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean. Do not overbake.
8. Unmold the cakes. Place 1 layer so the bottom is facing up on a platter. Spread ¼ cup of Cocoa Frosting on top of this layer. Place the second layer on top so the bottoms of the layers are together, and frost the entire cake with remaining Cocoa Frosting.
Yield: 2 (9-inch) cake layers
Preparation time: 15–20 minutes
Baking time: 30 minutes

Cocoa Frosting

3 cups powdered sugar
2 tablespoons butter, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
¼ cup unsweetened cocoa
2–4 tablespoons milk

1. In an electric mixer, stir together the sugar, butter, vanilla, and cocoa. Add the milk, a little at a time, until the desired consistency is achieved for the frosting.
Yield: About 3 cups
Preparation time: 5 minutes

1 Comment American Lighthouse Cookbook

  1. Susan Kelly July 6, 2009 at 8:10 pm

    Congratulations on the book, Becky! It sounds wonderful; I can’t wait to read it and try some of the recipes. It’ll make a wonderful gift, too–thanks for helping me with my Christmas shopping.

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