New England Lobster Roll Potato Chips

by Anne Maxfield on August 13, 2018

Accidental Locavore Lobster Roll Chips in BagNew England Lobster Roll potato chips.

It was supposed to start out as a joke.

One of those snarky pieces I haven’t written in a while.

We were on our way to Maine and what better to pair with a lobster roll with Lay’s new “Tastes of America” lobster roll potato chips?

And it would give us an excuse to stop for lobster (and crab) rolls.

Accidental Locavore Bobs Lobster RollResearch.

When I finally found a bag, it wasn’t in Maine, but on our way home in the next-to-last convenience store on the Mass Pike. Only slightly embarrassed to be seen with such a sacrilegious product, I covered it by buying another bag from the same series—bacon wrapped jalapeno popper flavor.

The woman behind the counter, who looked like she’d enjoyed a bag or two of chips many times over, was impressed with my purchases.

“I didn’t even know we had those. They look good. I’ll have to get some.”

So I played it straight.

“We were trying to find the lobster roll ones and the others looked good, so we thought we’d give them a try.”

Accidental Locavore Lobster Roll ChipsThe bacon wrapped jalapeno popper chips were wavy, which generally means they stay on the store shelves for me.

The package says they’re “Inspired by a Southwest favorite and now nationally loved, here’s a taste of jalapeno peppers, cream cheese and bacon. Let’s spice up snack time!”

They tasted like a version of a sour cream and onion flavored chip. We kept eating them, hoping for some heat from the jalapeno (slight) or bacon flavor (negligible). If they were in a bowl at a party, I doubt you’d say “wow, these are great jalapeno popper chips!”

Sadly (maybe, maybe not), the lobster roll chips suffered from the same problem. “Inspired by lobster shacks of the Northeast, here’s a taste of fresh lobster served on a buttery grilled roll. It’s wicked good!”

Wicked maybe. Wicked good, definitely not.

Accidental Locavore Lobster Roll and Wavy ChipsLike the missing bacon, the lobster roll chips lacked the taste of the main ingredient—lobster.

And like the other chips, this was just a different flavored sour cream chip, this time with a slight hint of pepper.

Maybe they think if it’s the lead flavor on the bag, your mind will assume that it tastes like lobster or bacon, but trust me, it didn’t.

If you’re craving a new flavor of chips, these might be worth a shot.  If you’re craving the taste of a lobster roll, buy one. You won’t find it in chip form.





Catch 38

by Anne Maxfield on August 6, 2018

Accidental Locavore Catch 38 OystersWhen you have really great oysters, like Catch 38 had the night we were there, I can understand letting them shine. However, even with really great oysters, sometimes you’d like to be able to mix and match them in increments less than 6. You’d also appreciate a slice (or even better a wedge) of lemon larger than the one in your cocktails and enough yuzu mignonette to see what it tasted like with the oysters.

Luckily, if Chef Wesley Dier & Bryn Bahnatka-Dier are paying attention, these are super simple fixes to make and this could easily become a terrific addition to the Rhinebeck restaurant scene.

Catch 38 is a bright airy take on an upscale seafood shack. It’s definitely upscale, and very much not a shack. There is plenty of seafood and enough meat options to please carnivores too.

We started with a dozen oysters from the West Coast, 6 each of Totten’s Inlet and Pacific Kiss. They were plump, meaty and sweet and I’ll look for them again.

Accidental Locavore Catch 38 SaladMy friend started with the Little Gem Chop Chop salad with veggies. A wedge of Little Gem lettuce, nicely dressed with a cider vinegar dressing and sprinkled with chickpeas, red peppers and carrots, it was a good way to start a meal.

The winner of the main courses was the fish and chips. A few nice chunks of cod battered and perfectly fried sat on a swish of sauce, with a cone of skinny fries on the side. The cod was sweet and delicious and reminded me of how good, good cod can be.

Accidental Locavore Catch 38 Fish &  Chips I was intrigued by the lamb sliders. Yeah, I know it’s a place for seafood. But who wouldn’t want to try Tuscan Lamb Sliders with pesto aioli, tomato jam, burrata, spinach, griddled polenta and Parmesan frico? It was a pair of lamb patties, nicely grilled, sitting on the spinach and tomato jam and topped with a slice of burrata and pesto. There were two small discs of Parmesan polenta on the side. It was a tasty combination (although as much as I love burrata, it was a little overpowered by all the other goodies on the burger) and I was glad I’d given it a try.

Accidental Locavore Catch 38 SlidersThe guys each had the seared sea scallops with Israeli couscous, beets and arugula. They both said it was more of a couscous and beet salad with scallops and as big scallop lovers, they would have liked more than three scallops.

There were 5 desserts the night we were there, and we tried 3 of them. The Key Lime Muffins were our favorites. This was all about presentation, so I won’t ruin the surprise, let me just say that the “muffins” were like mini Key Lime pies and the sauces that came with them were delicious (as were the muffins).

Accidental Locavore Catch 38 Key Lime MuffinsAlso yummy, once you could get to it, was the Chocolate-Chocolate Carmel Sundae. It was served in a traditional sundae glass with chunks of brownie at the top, and layers of chocolate sauce, crunchies etc. underneath. It would have been easier to get all the great layers and flavors in a bite, if the brownie pieces hadn’t been blocking access. Maybe a broad bowl instead of the sundae coupe?

Last up was the Creamsicle Sherbert, made from blood oranges and buttermilk. Everyone liked it with the fresh berries alongside. I’ve never been a Creamsicle girl, so I went back to work on the chocolate sundae.

Catch 38 shows a lot of promise. We’ll definitely be back–the oysters and fish & chips are worth the trip. The food overall was good and a little more time should help them work out some of the kinks.



The Best Gazpacho Ever!

by Anne Maxfield on July 30, 2018

Accidental Locavore Drinking GazpachoNow that it’s time for great tomatoes, do yourself a favor and give this amazing gazpacho recipe a try. Thank me in the comments.

It’s become our go-to gazpacho, it’s so good!

After I read the description of this gazpacho in the NY Times and remembered how good it was when Chef Jose Garces made it at his house a couple of years ago,  I needed to give it a try. Use the best tomatoes and olive oil you can.Accidental Locavore Gazpacho IngredientsBest Gazpacho recipe:

  • 2 pounds of red tomatoes, cored and cut into chunks
  • 1 Italian or Anaheim pepper, seeded and cut into chunks
  • 1 cucumber, peeled and cut into chunks
  • 1 small onion, peeled and cut into chunks
  • 1 clove of garlic, peeled
  • Part of a Serrano chile, seeded and thinly sliced (optional, if you like a little heat)
  • 2 teaspoons Sherry vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons salt, more to taste
  • ¼ cup good olive oil, plus more for drizzling

Accidental Locavore Straining GazpachoCombine the tomatoes, pepper, cucumber, onion and garlic in a blender.

Blend at high speed until very smooth, about 2 minutes.

With the motor running, add the vinegar and 2 teaspoons of salt, taste and add the Serrano chile if you’re using.

The next part you might want to do in batches unless you have a big blender.

Very slowly pour in the olive oil, so the gazpacho can emulsify. It will thicken and change color, becoming more orange.

If it seems thin, keep slowly pouring in the olive oil and it will thicken up. Taste and adjust the vinegar, salt and oil as needed.

Strain and discard the solids.

Pour into a pitcher and chill for at least 6 hours or overnight. Serve in glasses with a drizzle of olive oil on the top and enjoy!

Accidental Locavore Gazpacho Close UpMy verdict: Fabulous! It took a few minutes, but the color did change and the texture and taste was perfect. You really need a blender for this – sadly, a food processor won’t give you a fine enough puree.

I didn’t have the right kind of peppers, so I seeded and chopped a couple of pepperoncini, and they worked fine.

Since you really taste the oil, be sure to use something delicious. If you wanted, a shot of vodka might be interesting.

The original recipe suggests pouring the gazpacho over ice, which I think is a good idea; even though ours had chilled all afternoon, it never tasted really cold.

And forget Christmas in July, I’m thinking about making a batch and freezing it, so it can be August in the middle of January!Accidental Locavore Gazpacho Gone





LunaGrown Jam

by Anne Maxfield on July 23, 2018

Accidental Locavore LunaGrown Jam and BookIf you love jam, you have to love a brand that’s named for its (rescue) dog!

LunaGrown Jam is named for founder Christopher Wilson’s dog Luna, a rescue from a shelter in da Bronx. Let loose on the farm, she headed out, later to be found munching on a wild blueberry bush and a jam company got it’s name.

Located in Cuddlebackville (yes, it’s a real place) in the Western part of the Hudson Valley, LunaGrown utilizes a few acres on a private farm, and procures from “local growers who share our views on responsible and sustainable farming.”

All the jams are made in small batches, no more than 24 jars to a batch. The jams are mostly traditional flavors. There’s a New York Grape which uses local Concord, Candice and Riesling grapes to give it a full-bodied flavor. Other traditional offerings include, strawberry, cherry and blackberry.

On a more exotic front, you can delight in Lemon Marmalade with Lavender, Honey Mango or Pineapple Jams.

I was the lucky recipient of a lovely gift box, with jars of Blueberry and Spiced Fig Jams and founder Christopher Wilson’s book Beyond the Bread. It’s a guidebook/cookbook and has hundreds of ideas for pairing jams with cheeses, wines and even beers. There are sections on making your own beverages using jams, long with recipes to put all the flavors to some new uses.

Accidental Locavore LunaGrown Jam I immediately opened the blueberry and basically ate it out of the jar. It was great—not too sweet and not too thick—just lots of pure blueberry flavor.

The spiced fig jam was delicious. Figs (which I love) and a hint of spice-mostly cinnamon. My husband said it reminded him of a Fig Newton which was his favorite cookie growing up. I liked it because it had great fig taste without being too sweet. That morning I added it to my yogurt with some granola—a great way to start the day!

Now I’m ready to get more experimental, with a suggestion from the book to spread the fig jam on warm whole wheat pita bread along with “a generous portion of fresh spinach and feta cheese, served with a balsamic vinaigrette.” Sounds great, doesn’t it?

The jams come packaged in gift-worthy boxes, reflecting Christopher’s background as a visual designer and would make great presents for anyone who loves jam.

LunaGrown is available on their website, or retailers in the Hudson Valley, Pennsylvania and New Jersey. Check their website for events and retailers in your area and enjoy!