What is inspiration and where does it come from?
Is it a view of tiny and almost unclaimed Lobster Cove in Gloucester, MA with shiny boats, ocean smell and the promise of a delicious dinner at The Market restaurant?
Or the shape of a closed garage door contrasting with stones and spurting white flowers?
Or perhaps the texture and colors of a wall spotted in the Rocky Neck artists’ neighborhood in Gloucester?
Or a narrow window opening onto the world.
A day trip to Gloucester proved to be richly inspiring.
From the city center to Rocky Neck.
From the Eastern Point Lighthouse to Cape Ann.
Through the Halibut Point State Park and down to the Annisquam River area.
A beautiful day trip with a need for a different scenery giving birth to food and recipe ideas.
Summer food inspirations thanks to plentiful farmers’ markets and my overgrown garden.
A strawberry tart with mint, lemon verbena and Grand Marnier flavors.
A refreshing tomato gazpacho.
A bitter walnut arugula pesto.
A roasted tomato garlic quiche, which I can’t seem to stop making.
Everyday bringing more colors and creativity in the kitchen and on the table.
The new recipes in this post were born from this inspiring day trip.
Green peppercorns – a new revelation thanks to my friend “J.” and his recent gourmand summer dinner outside.
A dinner at the Market Restaurant on Lobster Cove – fresh, seasonal and local ingredients only.
A brand new menu everyday creating a unique experience like no other.
Inspiring and inspired!
And to finish my exquisite meal there, a blackberry honey sorbet.
Must. Recreate. Those. Flavors.
A mixed variety of lettuces from the garden along with beans and baskets of ripe tomatoes did the trick to prepare a salade niçoise.
Fresh, in season, and definitely local.
A salad in honor of the Market. Topped with lobster and green peppercorns of course.
Une salade très fraîche !
A different type of salade niçoise where I removed the potatoes and included the anchovies in the vinaigrette rather than on top.
A salad that can be prepared while debating why the French must remove both ends from the green beans. A daily conversation at my house.
And of course, the strong blackberries from the market paired with a bold honey – thick and golden in color – made perfect muffins.
So perfect, 2 batches were made this past week to test them again… just in case.
Golden-colored muffins with a slightly crusty top and moist blackberries inside.
Once you make them, you’ll know what type of addiction I’ve been suffering from!
Where will the next inspirations come from?
Another dinner, another friend?
Another place, perhaps?
After Gloucester, a new day trip to Provincetown, MA last week. What will it inspire soon?
And most importantly, how do you get inspired? Where do you find it?
What inspires you to make food, take pictures, or what inspires you in general?
Blackberry Honey Muffins
makes 10 muffins
1/3 cup (66 g) of lemon sugar
5 teaspoons of olive oil
1 tablespoon of almond butter
3/4 cup (135 g) of brown rice flour
3/4 cup (90 g) of almond meal
1/4 cup (45 g) of white rice flour
pinch of sea salt
1/2 teaspoon of baking powder
1/2 teaspoon of baking soda
1/8 teaspoon of lemon extract
1/2 cup (170 g) of honey – I either use a chestnut honey or buckwheat honey for bold flavors.
1 cup (145 g) of blackberries
Preheat the oven to 350 °F (180 °C).
Prepare a muffin pan with muffin/cupcake papers.
In a bowl, beat the eggs and sugar with a hand mixer for 2 minutes until light and creamy.
Add the oil and almond butter and continue to mix for 1 minute.
Sift the flours over the bowl. Add the salt, baking powder and baking soda and mix well with a spatula until well incorporated.
Pour the lemon extract and honey slowly. Stir.
Fold in the blackberries and stir slowly.
Divide the batter to make 10 muffins and bake in the oven for 25 minutes.
Let the muffins stand and cool for 5 minutes in the pan. Remove from the muffin pan and continue to cool on a rack.
Lobster Salade Niçoise with Green Peppercorns
2 lobsters or lobster tails – cooked and cut in chunks
8-9 oz (250 g) of small French green beans
4 tomatoes – roughly chopped in wedges
8-9 oz (250 g) of lettuce – feel free to mix your lettuces (arugula, mixed greens, Boston, Romaine) – roughly chopped
12-15 olives – niçoise or Kalamata
4 hard-boiled eggs – cut in wedges
2 garlic cloves – minced
1 teaspoon of strong Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons of white wine vinegar
1 teaspoon of lime juice
1 shallot – chopped
5 anchovy fillets – minced
1/3 cup (80 ml) of olive oil
2 tablespoons of green peppercorns – freshly crushed
Cook the lobster ahead of time so it is cold when the time to put the salad together comes. I prefer to steam lobster rather than boiling it.
Prepare a pot of salted boiling water. Remove the ends of the beans, cut them in half and drop them in the boiling water for 3 minutes.
Drain and stop the cooking process by placing them under cold water until completely cool. Set aside.
Prepare the vinaigrette by placing the garlic, mustard, vinegar, lime juice, shallot and anchovy fillets in a bowl. Slowly pour the olive oil over the ingredients and start to whisk until smooth. Set aside.
Place the lettuce, beans, tomatoes and olives in a bowl. Pour the vinaigrette over and toss with your clean hands or serving utensils.
In a big round serving dish, place the freshly mixed salad and decorate it with the egg wedges and the lobster meat/chunks.
Sprinkle the crushed green peppercorns on top.