Travelgram: A Trip to Stonewall Kitchen

With the awesome team in the Stonewall Cooking School kitchen.

With the awesome team in the Stonewall Cooking School kitchen.

I’m just back from a short road trip to York, Maine, where I had the pleasure of teaching two classes at the Stonewall Kitchen Cooking School. I’d never been to Maine before, so I was looking forward to this trip, to being in New England in all its spangled Yankee splendor, and to teaching at this top-notch facility. My family had never been to Maine either, so I made them come with me brought them along.

Some highlights:

First, traveling by car on the Fourth of July is an absolute dream. Why? Because the rest of America is in their backyard, drinking beer and grilling. There was barely a vehicle in sight in the 900-plus miles between the Washington beltway and Maine’s rocky coast.

On the flip side, driving home on Fourth of July weekend is an absolute nightmare, but who wants to hear about that?

Going north, the George Washington Bridge was beautifully decked out.

GW bridge

 

Patriotism was on parade in Mystic, Connecticut, where we stopped for a break.

soldiers

Soldiering on.

 

York itself is a picturesque seaside town just over the New Hampshire border. Although we were only there for two days, we managed to squeeze in a fair bit of sightseeing, not to mention eating.

Here’s a shot of Nubble Lighthouse, off Cape Neddick Point. (Click here if you want to know more about the history of the lighthouse, like where that name came from.)

Nubble 2

One of the world’s most photographed lighthouses. Almost too perfect.

 

Conveniently, the lighthouse is located just down the road from Brown’s Old Fashioned Ice Cream, an obligatory stop in York, we were told. We stopped.

A perfectly crafted cone. This was a 'small.' Not even I could finish it.

A perfectly crafted cone. This was a ‘small.’ Not even I could finish it.

 

We had to answer (for ourselves) the eternal question: butter or mayo?

The lobster roll at Shore Road Market, served on a toasted bun with REAL butter on the side, reigned supreme.

The lobster roll at Shore Road Market, served on a toasted bun with REAL butter on the side, reigned supreme.

But the generously filled roll at Bob's Clam Hut, lightly bound with mayo, was a close second.

But the generously filled roll at Bob’s Clam Hut, lightly bound with mayo, was a close second.

 

The true highlight for me, however, was seeing and spending time in the gorgeous Stonewall Kitchen complex, located right at the entrance to the town of York. The company has been around for 22 years. It was started by a couple of guys selling jars of their homemade jam at the local farmers’ market. Stonewall products are now in some 42 countries. The cooking school just celebrated its 5th anniversary.

The beautifully kept gardens at Stonewall Kitchen. Herbs and vegetables from the garden are used in classes.

The beautifully kept gardens at Stonewall Kitchen. Herbs and vegetables from the garden are used in classes.

 

Two excellent teams did the prep work for both of my classes. Here are a couple of action shots:

stonewall prep 1

Special tip of the hat to Peter, aka "pasta man," who prepped both classes and helped me roll out 6 pounds of maccheroni alla molinara.

Special tip of the hat to Peter, aka “pasta man,” who prepped both classes and helped me roll out 6 pounds of maccheroni alla molinara.

Here’s what we made in the classes:

Menu 1: A Glorious Vegetable Feast for Summer
Crostini with Grilled Peppers and Tuna
Tagliolini with Sautéed Pancetta, Zucchini and Saffron
Eggplant “Meatballs” in Tomato Sauce
Carrot-Polenta Cake with Marsala

Menu 2: A Glorious Pasta Feast for Summer
Crostini with Slow-Roasted Tomatoes and Burrata
Maccheroni alla Molinara Domus with Ragu’ all’Abruzzese
Sweet and Sour Peppers with Oil-Cured Olives
Sweet Pasta Puffs

We had a great time in both classes, but here I’d like to give a shout-out to a young lad (age 11 I’d guess) named Benjamin, who attended the Glorious Pasta class. This engaged and inquisitive boy asked some of the most insightful questions I’ve ever been asked in a cooking class. Afterwards, he told me his dream is to re-open the restaurant his grandfather once owned. I hope he follows that dream.

Before we left town I snapped this shot of one of the many beautiful historic homes that line York Street.

Those double-decker porches!

Those double-decker porches!

Arrivederci York ~ alla prossima!

Where are your travels taking you this summer?

 

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17 Responses to Travelgram: A Trip to Stonewall Kitchen

  1. elisa July 10, 2013 at 3:10 pm #

    Lucky you! I love their products! And I love Maine.Now I wonder if your pasta alla molinara will become pasta alla “marinara”. Of course in Italy “marinara” means something from the sea. By the way, I saw your recipe of “Eggplant meatballs” in the August issue of Food and Wine, is this recipe part of your new book?

    • Domenica Marchetti July 10, 2013 at 4:43 pm #

      Elisa ~ I’m kicking myself because I meant to buy a jar of the white fig spread while I was there but I completely forgot. Luckily, there’s a Stonewall Kitchen store not too far from my house. I guess I’ll just have to mosey on over there one day soon.

      The recipe in F&W is a variation of the one in the book. The one in the book is classic eggplant meatballs. For the magazine, I added finely chopped porcini to the mix. Delizioso!

  2. Laura (Tutti Dolci) July 10, 2013 at 8:34 pm #

    What a fabulous trip, I’d love to visit Stonewall Kitchen! I’ve had the opportunity to try many of their products and I’m always impressed with the quality!

    • Domenica Marchetti July 10, 2013 at 9:53 pm #

      Me too, Laura. One morning before class prep I had a scone with wild blueberry jam in the cafe. It was excellent.

  3. elisa July 11, 2013 at 12:36 pm #

    I used the White Fig Spread before and….I added a TBSP. of rum in the jar….just to “thin” it out and then I used it between two cake layers…

    • Domenica Marchetti July 12, 2013 at 3:41 pm #

      That’s an inspired idea, Elisa. For one of the classes, I made a carrot-polenta cake with Marsala. We wanted to dress it up for presentation, so one of the Stonewall staffers warmed some apricot preserves and stirred in a little Marsala. We used it as a sauce to garnish the cake. It was delicious.

  4. paninigirl July 12, 2013 at 10:56 am #

    I just saw your recipe for the eggplant meatballs in Food & Wine-I can’t wait for your new book to be available!

    • Domenica Marchetti July 12, 2013 at 3:42 pm #

      Thanks so much Janie. Should be soon, fingers crossed. The recipe in the magazine is a riff on the one in the book. I was honored to be featured.

  5. Tracy July 12, 2013 at 12:35 pm #

    I knew I recognized the lighthouse…I have a poster of it hanging in my cubicle at work. Cape Neddick “Nubble” Light by Alan Claude. Glad you found a bit of summer on the road.

    • Domenica Marchetti July 12, 2013 at 3:46 pm #

      We really lucked out with the weather Tracy. It was gorgeous all weekend and only started raining when we were driving back. There’s something fairy tale-ish about that lighthouse photo, isn’t there? Oddly, it makes me think of that weird world inhabited by the Teletubbies (watched more than my fair share of that when my kids were babies).

  6. Adri July 14, 2013 at 10:13 pm #

    What a wonderful travelogue. I, Armchair Traveler Extraordinaire, love articles like this. Everything is so beautiful – so clean, and so quintessentially American.

    I have purchased products for years from Stonewall Kitchen, but I did not know they also had a cooking school. What fun. And your classes must have been a dream for all who attended. I really think you need to head out west, Domenica!

    • Domenica Marchetti July 15, 2013 at 12:01 pm #

      I’m working on it Adri…although I don’t think I’ll get to southern California this time. Possibly San Francisco. I’ll keep you posted my friend.

  7. Frank Fariello July 16, 2013 at 8:18 am #

    Sounds like a wonderful trip all round. And what an inspiring story of that 11 year old. I hope he sticks to his dreams and makes it come true.

  8. ciaochowlinda July 27, 2013 at 12:03 pm #

    Oh how wonderful for you, for your family and for the people who took your class. I loved seeing all the photos – the decked out GW bridge, and the lobster rolls especially. Can’t wait to try those eggplant balls.

  9. Kim August 10, 2013 at 8:00 am #

    Love this story and photos! Where did you stay in York?

    • Domenica Marchetti August 10, 2013 at 9:07 am #

      Hi Kim, welcome and thank you! We stayed at the York Harbor Inn. Beautiful location, right across the street from the water. Do you know it? I enjoyed York and next time hope to venture farther north to Acadia National Park. Cheers, and thanks for reading.

  10. Kim August 10, 2013 at 10:17 am #

    I do it’s lovely! Now I can’t wait to go back!

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