So proud to live in Massachusetts, a state where the lives of threatened and endangered shorebirds that nest along our coastline, birds such as Least Terns, Piping Plovers, and American Oyster Catchers are considered worth protecting.
Despite all that the State government is trying to manage with the pandemic at its very peak, a huge shout out to Governor Baker and his administration for continuing the fight to help protect Piping Plovers. The Governor’s list of essential workers includes natural resource workers and the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation has placed symbolic roping and threatened species signs on DCR beaches.
For over forty years, people have been working to rebuild the Piping Plover population and it will only add to the coronavirus tragedy if we cease protecting threatened and endangered wildlife.
The PiPls are having a tough time of it this spring, largely because so much of their overwintering habitat was ravished during last year’s Hurricane Dorian. Let’s all work together to share the shore with wildlife and to protect our own Good Harbor Beach Piping Plover family.
Male PiPl building a nest scrape and tossing bits of shells and sand into the scrape.
Chocolate Amaretto Truffles
Mini muffin baking cups or petit four cups
2 ounces. Baker’s sweet German chocolate, broken into small bits
6 ounces Ghiradelli semi-sweet chocolate chips
¼ C. Disaronno Amaretto liqueur
2 Tbs. strong coffee
Few drops almond extract
2 ounces (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, softened
1 Tbs. vanilla extract
½ C. pulverized Jules Destrooper almond thins (or Anna’s, or any super fine, thin cookie)
Confectioner’s sugar to taste (approx. 1/2 cup)
½ C. Ghiradelli unsweetened cocoa powder for final powdering
Melt sweet chocolate bits and semi-sweet chocolate chips over a gently simmering double boiler. Whisk in liqueur, coffee, almond extract, and vanilla. Whisk vigorously, over gentle heat, a few minutes more until mixture is shiny and smooth. Gradually add the butter by tablespoons. With a wooden spoon, beat in the pulverized cookies. Beat in sifted confectioner’s sugar, to taste. Remove the pan from the double boiler and place in a bowl of ice with water. Stir until well chilled and firm enough to form into balls.
By teaspoonful, gather up a gob and form into a rough, truffle-like shape. Roll in cocoa powder and drop into frilled paper cup.
Makes about 22, depending on size. Refrigerate in an airtight container. They will keep for several weeks or they may be frozen. (Very) loosely adapted from Julia Child’s Chocolate Amaretti Truffles The Way to Cook Page 485. To vary using orange liqueur: Replace Amaretto with Grand Marnier or Cointreau, replace almond extract with lemon or orange extract, and replace almond thins with thin gingersnaps (Anna’s, for example).
Ken Duckworth graciously shares his recipe for the most divine lobster risotto!
Friday night we celebrated my husband Tom’s birthday at Ken and Nicole’s fabulous restaurant, Duckworth’s Bistrot. Located on East Main Street, which runs along Gloucester’s working inner harbor, it is a mere 100 steps from their front door to ours, although whenever entering Duckworth’s, I feel transported and am reminded of the lovely bistrots dotting Parisian neighborhoods and seaside ristorantes along the Amalfi coastline. Cosmopolitan, yet neighborly, with its intimate and inviting atmosphere, Duckworth’s is my and my family’s favorite restaurant for special occasions—birthdays, anniversaries, graduations—truly any celebration gives reason to call for a reservation!
Chef Ken Duckworth draws from myriad influences, American and international, and the ingredients are pure New England. Captain Joe & Sons supplies fresh lobsters daily, the shrimp is wild caught and from domestic waters, and produce, eggs, and cheese are provided by local farmers. Changes to the menu are made day to day, depending on the seasonal availability of ingredients, although there are several dishes that are nearly always on the menu including Ken’s beautiful fruits of the sea stew, the crispy polenta and portabella mushroom appetizer, and my all time favorite, the lobster and vegetable risotto, with sautéed greens. All the desserts are made by Nicole Duckworth and with notice, she is able to create made-to-order cakes for special occasions.
Andy, who also works in the kitchen, was our waiter Friday night, and over the years we’ve gotten to know Dan and Michelle. The staff is one of the reasons why a night out at Duckworth’s is always joyful experience. Thank you Duckworth’s for making my husband’s birthday so delightfully delicious and enjoyable!
Duckworth’s Bistrot Lobster Risotto
Lobster Sauce (yield 1 qt)
6-8 Med lobster bodies split in ½ lengthwise
1 large yellow onion, medium dice
2 carrots, med dice
4 ribs celery, med dice
4 fennel stalks, med dice
5 garlic cloves, minced
2 bay leaves
pinch of saffron
¼ cup tomato paste
zest of 1 lemon
½ cup brandy or cognac
1 qt milk
1 qt lt cream
4 oz butter
- Melt butter in heavy casserole, add lobster bodies and sauté for about 3 minutes on both sides. Remove bodies leaving remaining butter and liquids in pan.
- Add all vegetables and cook until slightly caramelized
- Add bay leaves, saffron, zest, and tomato paste and cook for a few minutes
- Add brandy/cognac
- Return bodies to pot and add milk and cream
- Bring to simmer and refrigerate overnight
- Next day return to heat, bring to simmer and reduce to sauce-like consistency
- Stain thru sieve pressing bodies and vegetables with a ladle
- Strain again thru chinois and season with salt and cayenne
Lobster risotto, serves 4
½ cup small diced onion
1 ½ cup Arborio rice
3 cups chicken stock or water
4 one pound lobsters, cooked and picked, meat cut into chunks
3 tbsp butter or oil
- Bring liquid to simmer in pan
- In another pan melt butter, sauté onion until soft. Add rice, stirring until rice is thoroughly coated and slightly toasted. Add 1 cup of liquid and cook until absorbed. Continue on low heat adding ½ cup of liquid at a time until rice is al dente.
- Fold in lobster meat, any blanched vegetables you like and about 2 cups of sauce. Stir until everything is incorporated.
- Check seasoning
- Remaining sauce can be frozen or kept in the refrigerator for about a week.
- Let me know if you try Ken’s recipe, either at home or at the restaurant. You will find yourself in epicurean heaven, I promise!