Monday, January 12, 2009

Great place for coctails! Oxford House Fryeburg Maine

Olive Bob recently attended a cocktail reception in the basement bar of the Oxford House Inn in Fryeburg, Maine. What a delight! The new owners have redone the basement bar into a romantic place for drinks and a light meal with that someone special. The stone basement is remeniscent of a cave, with properly dim lighting, comfortable sofas and chairs, with a small bar with stools. Although most people seem to go there while waiting for dinner in their upstairs dining room, the bar itself is ideal for a quiet romantic meal or the basic daily coctail.

They boast a nice selection of vodkas and gins, as well as several creative martinis. Most specialties run around $10, but are nicely proportioned. Varying from the usual martini, I tried the Dark and Stormy, a Bermudan origin cocktail made with Gosling's Dark Rum and Ginger Beer. They used Maine Root's organic Ginger Beer, which really added a nice kick. The drink was garnished w/lime and crystalized ginger, and was great.

The Chef/owner prepared a nice selection of appetizers for the reception, and we will return to give a full report on the dining room and pub fare. But if you are in the Eastern NH or Western Maine area, this is a unique and first rate place to bring someone for a romantic evening, especially if you want a quiet, discrete locale.

Cheers until the next report, Olive Bob

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Mojito Marinated Sword Fish, Mango-Mint Salsa, Maduros & Basmati Rice

Inspired by the classic Cuban cocktail, we suggest you start with a Mojito yourself. Why should the fish have all the fun?

The Mojito cocktail
In a tall glass muddle together the ½ lime cut into quarters, 3-4 fresh mint leaves and 2 tsp sugar being sure to crush mint leaves and extract pulp from the lime. Add 1-1/2 oz white rum, ice and fill glass to brim w/club soda. Garnish w/mint sprig and lime wedge and then start cooking. Although part of the charm of the Mojito is the muddling, you can scale up the recipe proportionately to make by the pitcher for groups or a hot summer.

Prepare your mise en place in advance, follow the steps below and in an hour or less you will have a dinner on the table that wows your guests.

If using a charcoal grill, light it now.

Mojito Marinated Swordfish.
4 8-10oz. fresh Swordfish steaks.

½ cup White rum
4-5 sprigs Fresh mint roughly torn or muddled
2 limes, juiced and quartered.
1 tsp sugar
Dash of sea salt or kosher salt

Combine marinade ingredients and muddle to extract lime juice and pulp. Marinade swordfish steaks in non-reactive dish for 30 minutes. If marinade does not full cover, turn after 15 minutes. Placing in Ziploc bag with marinade works well to ensure all surfaces covered.

Spiced Basmati Rice
2 Tbs vegetable oil
2-3 whole cloves
2-3 whole cardamom pods
2-3 whole coriander
2-3 whole allspice
1 piece whole cinnamon
½ small onion sliced paper thin
1 cup basmati rice
2 cups water

Heat oil in sauce pan over medium heat, add the whole spices and cook until cinnamon begins to unfurl. Add onion and sweat until softened approx 1 min. Be careful not to burn spices or onion. Add the rice and stir constantly for about 2 minutes until fully coated with oil and fragrant. Add water, stir, bring to boil then reduce to simmer and cover. Cook about 14 minutes over very low heat until water is absorbed.

Time to turn the fish in the marinade. If using gas grill, turn it on now to preheat.

Mango/Mint Salsa
Two Ripe Mangoes – peeled and diced
10-15 fresh mint leaves minced
2 Tbs olive oil
3 Tbs fresh lime juice
1 tsp finely diced habanero or jalapeno pepper (optional depending on the heat you want). Can substitute finely diced red pepper for color w/out heat.
Dash sea salt/kosher salt

Combine salsa ingredients in non-reactive bowl, mix and let rest.
Check rice. If water is absorbed, remove from heat, fluff with fork and set aside covered.

Maduros – fried sweet plantains

3 ripe plantains – Skin should be black. Green or yellow/black plantains are generally deep fried in thin lengthwise slices “Mariquitas” twice fried “Tostones” both less sweet and more like fried potatoes.
3 Tbs Butter (can use oil, but butter adds to sweetness)

Peel plantains by cutting off ends and slicing skin lengthwise – they do NOT peel like bananas. Slice the plantains diagonally about 3/4 inch thick. Melt butter in pan over medium heat, add plantains and cook until golden (about 2 minutes) turn and cook until golden on other side. Its okay if they caramelize a little as it forms a sweet crust on the plantain.

While plantains are cooking, time to grill the fish. Your grill should be ready (or if using a grill pan heat over high heat until water beads). Remove fish from marinade – do not drain or wipe dry. Spray grill with non-stick spray or wipe w/oil. Grill fish approx. 2 minutes per side for 1-1/2 inch steaks for medium rare, or until desired temperature. Fresh swordfish is best rare to medium rare as well done tends to become very dry.

While steaks cooking on second side, mound rice on each plate and fan out Maduros. Top rice with Swordfish steak, top with Mango Lime Salsa, garnish with mint sprig and slice of lime, and have another Mojito since your dinner for 4 is now ready.

© 2007 Creative Commercial Solutions / Olive Bob Cocktail Club. You are granted permission to re-print or publish this recipe provided this original copy right is included.