Lobster Rolls and Blueberry Pie: Three Generations of Recipes and Stories from Summers on the Coast of Maine

Overview

From the celebrated chef and owner of New York City's Pearl Oyster Bar comes Lobster Rolls & Blueberry Pie, which transports readers to the Maine seashore of the past, where summer vacations stretch out forever during long, golden days and food is the stuff from which memories are made.

The story begins with Rebecca Charles's grandmother, Pearle Goldsmith, a Metropolitan Opera singer, who began a love affair with the coast of Maine. She passed down her passion for Maine and ...

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Overview

From the celebrated chef and owner of New York City's Pearl Oyster Bar comes Lobster Rolls & Blueberry Pie, which transports readers to the Maine seashore of the past, where summer vacations stretch out forever during long, golden days and food is the stuff from which memories are made.

The story begins with Rebecca Charles's grandmother, Pearle Goldsmith, a Metropolitan Opera singer, who began a love affair with the coast of Maine. She passed down her passion for Maine and its food to her daughter, Eleanor, and granddaughter, Rebecca, whose Maine cuisine has New Yorkers waiting in line for hours at Pearl Oyster Bar.

Lobster Rolls & Blueberry Pie is a warm and wonderful book, filled with more than seventy delicious recipes, beautiful, nostalgic photos, and moving family stories.

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Editorial Reviews

The New York Times
Charles's tiny Greenwich Village restaurant, Pearl Oyster Bar, may be one of the best -- it's certainly one of the most charming -- dining spots in Manhattan, and here she shares a selection of her first-rate seafood recipes, from chowders and oyster pan roasts to shrimp cocktails and lobster pot pie. Worth the price of admission is her recipe for lobster roll, a mayonnaisey dream on a buttery toasted bun. Charles is a pleasure to read when she's talking about food. — Dwight Garner
Publishers Weekly
Half seafood cookbook and half family history, this volume's greatest strength is in the recipes for over 70 dishes that define New England summers-corn on the cob, salt-crusted shrimp, and lots of lobster-reproduced here in honor of Charles's family's summertime trips to Maine. Charles, owner and head chef of the widely hailed Pearl Oyster Bar in Manhattan, offers her hard-drinking, quick-learning adventures in the restaurant business in the memoir portion of the book, and though they will be nothing new to Kitchen Confidential fans, they make for a piquant prelude to her recipes. The book gets a little bogged down, however, in the chapters that detail early family trips to Maine. Although Charles's desire to tell her family's story is heartfelt, she often leaves out important details, such as dates and introductions to the characters, that would make the narrative easier to follow. The story alternates from intriguing family explorations (how did the author's family locate the one hotel in the Kennebunk region of Maine that accepted Jews in the 1920's?) to textbook historical notes that don't quite mesh with the personal tone. Readers will wonder, too, about such asides as when she mentions her one-time estrangement from both parents ("I discovered my father's death in the late 1980s quite by accident"). Still, when the focus is on the food that Charles loves, the book is an accessible and authoritative guide to seafood preparation, as Charles offers not only divine recipes, from Pearl Oyster Bar Cocktail Sauce to Blueberry Crumble Pie, but tips on selecting (never buy wet scallops), cleaning (leverage is the key to shucking oysters) and preparing (don't marinate fish much more than 30 minutes) all types of seafood. B&w and color photos. (Apr.) Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
The Oprah Magazine O
“Will remind you of the best summers you ever had.”
Beverly Sills
“I remember Rebecca’s grandmother Pearle...made the best shortbread cookies, and Rebecca’s book is just as delicious as those cookies!”
New York Times
“A pleasure to read. . . . You’ll have this book plastered open on your kitchen counter all summer.”
Bangor Daily News
“An interesting, mouth-watering read.”
USA Weekend
“Deliciously entertaining. A novel with recipes.”
Daily News
“A charming memoir of summers spent on the coast of Maine.”
San Francisco Examiner
“Personal and evocative.”
Boston Globe
“A satisfying mix of memoir and cookbook.”
Portland Phoenix
“A charming, well written account of three generations of women and their summer adventures in Kennebunkport.”
Los Angeles Times
“A book bound to leave readers feeling that summer just can’t come soon enough.”
Baltimore Sun
“A homespun travelogue that’s breezy, practical and likely to charm even armchair gourmands not partial to the beach.”
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780060515829
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 3/13/2003
  • Edition description: 1ST
  • Pages: 240
  • Product dimensions: 7.37 (w) x 9.12 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

Rebecca Charles is the owner and head chef of Pearl Oyster Bar in Greenwich Village, New York. In Maine she was awarded four stars at the White Barn Inn before returning home to Manhattan to work as Anne Rosenzweig's sous chef at her landmark Upper East Side restaurant, Arcadia. She opened Pearl Oyster Bar in 1997 to enormous critical and popular acclaim. She lives in New York City.

Deborah DiClementi is a former television producer and freelance writer who has written for Cooking Light, Marie Claire, and Mademoiselle.

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Read an Excerpt

Lobster Rolls and Blueberry Pie

Three Generations of Recipes and Stories from Summers on the Coast of Maine
By Rebecca Charles

HarperCollins Publishers, Inc.

Copyright © 2006 Rebecca Charles
All right reserved.

ISBN: 006051583X

Blueberry Crumble Pie

Serves 8 to 10

This recipe is best served warm with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

Ingredients

For the crust

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon salt
2 sticks cold butter, cut into tiny pieces
1/4 cup ice water

For the crumble

1 1/2 cups flour
1 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
1 1/2 sticks sweet butter, cut into little pieces

For the filling

3 pints blueberries, wild Maine if you can get them
1 cup granulated sugar
4 teaspoons cornstarch
1 teaspoon finely chopped lemon zest
Pinch of freshly ground black pepper

Instructions

To make the crust, combine the flour, salt, and cold butter in a food processor by pulsing until the mixture has the consistency of sand. Add the cold water while pulsing until the mixture comes together; don't overwork it. (To mix the dough by hand, combine the flour, salt, and butter in a large bowl. Add the cold water and work by hand until the mixture comes together.) Remove the dough from the food processor or bowl and on a lightly floured counter or board, shape it into adisk about 1 inch thick. Wrap with plastic film and refrigerate for at least 1 hour before rolling it out.

To make the crumble, mix the flour and brown sugar in a food processor until thoroughly combined. Add the butter and pulse until the mixture forms a crumble (do not overwork the mixture). Refrigerate until you are ready to use it.

To make the fruit filling, in a large bowl, mix all the ingredients well. Crush about 20 percent of the blueberries so the juice mixes with the cornstarch and thickens the filling.

To make the pie, preheat the oven to 350° F. Roll out the dough on a floured surface, place in a pie plate, and crimp the edges. Use a fork to poke holes around the sides and bottom of the crust. Cover with a piece of parchment paper and fill it with dried beans. Bake for 8 minutes, or until the crimped edges are firm. Remove the paper and beans and bake for 3 to 5 more minutes to firm the bottom. Fill the crust with the berry mixture, spread out the mixture, and top the pie generously with the crumble. Bake for 1 hour, or until the filling starts to bubble. Cool on a rack.

Pan-Seared Scallops

Serves 2

I like to serve scallops on a bed of risotto in the winter or on a vegetable ragout in the summer. They are great on the Sweet Corn Ragout (page 69).Anything with tomatoes, which compliments the sweetness of the scallops perfectly, and they are also lovely with roasted vegetables and bacon. When I was cooking in the early 1990s, I served my version of a BLT in which I put caramelized scallops on a bacon and potato tart with tomato butter sauce.

Ingredients

4 scallops per person, U-10 size (10 per pound)
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Peanut or vegetable oil for sauteing

Instructions

Cooking scallops can be difficult at home because it is hard to get a pan as hot on your home stove as we can get it on a restaurant stove. Some of the newer model stoves, however, are now being made with one burner that has a higher BTU output, so eventually home cooks will be able to prepare seared foods in the same way a restaurant does.

Season the scallops lightly on both sides with salt and pepper. Put your pan on very high heat. Do not add the oil until you're certain the pan is hot. When you add the oil it should shimmer and you might see wisps of smoke -- too much smoke means the pan is too hot. Immediately put your scallops in the pan, flat side down. After 2 minutes, lift the edges gently. When the scallops are caramelized and a mahogany brown color, turn them over and reduce the heat by half. When they are firm to the touch, which should take another minute or two, they're done. Serve them immediately, as scallops tend to lose their juice once they're cooked.

Continues...


Excerpted from Lobster Rolls and Blueberry Pie by Rebecca Charles Copyright © 2006 by Rebecca Charles. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Table of Contents

Foreword ix
Introduction xi
Part I Kennebunkport Bound
It Happened One Night 3
Brooklyn, 1919 7
Part II My Grandmother
A Scottish-Jewish Suffragette 19
The Jazz Age 27
Objectionable Strangers 45
The Forest Hill House 53
A Summer Table 73
The Darling of the Gods 81
Low Tea at High Tide 99
Twilight Time 115
Part III My Mother and Me
The 1950s 129
Pearle's Gift 141
Smackmen and Lobster Gangs 159
Red Dogs and Whoopie Pies 177
Pearle and Pearl 195
Back to Gooch's Beach 217
Acknowledgments 223
Index 225
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Sort by: Showing all of 7 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 6, 2003

    Perfect Recipes!

    When I buy a new cookbook, I cook out of it exclusively and obsessively for weeks! I had wanted this book since June (after having seen the chef on Martha Stewart) but JUST got around to buying it. Just in time, too, because I made her pies and pie crust (who knew you could do that so easy in a food processor)for Thanksgiving and it saved me work AND impressed our huge family. I also made the blueberry bread pudding with Vanilla Custard sauce as a pie alternative and everybody loved it. (Frozen blueberries worked great incidentally.) The stories are delightful and I had such a pleasant familiar feeling reading them but it's the recipes that are fabulous. I have made the brilliant Lobster Stew and Oyster Pan Roast. This weekend we tried the clam chowder and are about to sit down to it. I look forward to summer and the lighter recipes but this turned out to be a good cold weather purchase with plenty of dishes I would prefer to make during cold weather. This has to be one of the best cookbooks of last year.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 28, 2003

    America's new MFK Fisher

    Everyone on my list is getting this for Mother's Day! The recipes couldn't be simpler or more delicious and who doesn't need a pep talk when trying not to destroy fish? Beyond the practical, Rebecca illuminates Maine for us in a manner not reached since MFK Fisher wove her magic. 2 messages: BUY THIS BOOK! and MORE REBECCA, MORE !

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 17, 2003

    Mother's, Grandmother's & Daughter's Delight

    Seldom has a 'cookbook' touched me like this, though I have over 163, including other memoirs and plenty of stories with recipes. The writing is stellar and the recipes, so far, have worked brilliantly. But the story of three generations of strong New York women who all fell in love with Maine makes you want to call your mom and grandmother. It's also a particularly beautiful book with GREAT food photography and wonderful old photos.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 5, 2003

    Gone Fishin'

    I go to Pearl frequently and had this book on pre-order forever. Was soooo worth it! What a great story, series of stories really, that reads like good fiction. The recipes are amazing, too, now I can make that famous lobster roll and clam chowder. The instructions for cooking fish look easy and we're going to grill fish tomorrow for the first time! Would have liked to see Pearl's famous Caesar salad but, oh, well...I can't recommend this more highly for beginner to intermediate home cooks, arm-chair travelers, moms, daughters, graddaughters and everybody looking for summer house gifts or a good summertime read!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 6, 2003

    By the Sea!

    It's amazing what inspires people, including the chef at one of our favorite local restaurants, Pearl Oyster Bar. This is a gorgeous story of one Jewish family who returned every summer to Kennebunkport, Maine, despite the fact that from 1918 through WWII (the early 1940s anyway) there was only one hotel that accepted Jews. The book is warm and evocative and as you read, you actually feel trasnported to the beaches of Maine and long for steamers and clam chowder. Rebecca Charles's summers inspired her to open her restaurant, which NY foodies know EVERBODY is copying. This was our first weekend at the summer house and although it was freezing I made Pearl's lobster rolls last night. I'm not much of a cook but they came out great---even without the proper 'top loading' hot dog bun. Simple recipes even I can make.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 4, 2003

    I love it

    I love this book! It's fun to read. The story is great, the recipes are easy to make, the photos and the design of the book are amazing. This is a perfect gift for anyone who is into food, history, or memoirs. It's a must-read!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 2, 2003

    Great story, great recipes

    This is a wonderfully conceived and written book that weaves a great story within the context of a cookbook. I totally enjoyed it and I can't wait to try the recipes!

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