the lost kitchen

recipes. stories. life...from the coast of maine
F I N D I N G    F R E E D O M
Sixteen miles west of the Mid Coast Maine town of Belfast lies a little town called Freedom.  Drive inland along Route 137 and leave behind the salty breezes of Penobscot Bay, rounding corners, passing little ponds, over farmland and by wooded lanes.  A singular flashing traffic light (the only one for miles) signals you are nearly there.  Pass the tractor shop, convenience store and little diner on the corner and descend the hill into the heart of the tiny village below and you’ve found Freedom, population 719. 
This is my home, where my life began and where my life continues.  It was on the back dirt roads of Freedom that I first rode a bike and on Sandy Pond where I learned to swim and ice fish and skate with an old chair.  It was along the age old network of hiking trails where I discovered a love for nature and in the soil of my family’s farm where I learned about a garden.  I sold eggs barefoot by the roadside with my sister, built forts in the woods and made mud dams in the streams with the farm boys next door.  I joined Girl Scouts at the old grange hall and got kicked out of Sunday school once for throwing pastel Easter eggs at my sister.  And then there was the little corner diner where I found my place on the busy kitchen line and where I first discovered my lifelong love for cooking.  
Recently, I found my way back to Freedom where my childhood home remains.  It embraced me and nurtured me through my painful divorce and all of the losses that came with it.  It reminded me that rebuild is possible with self-determination and that I could move forward, without hindrance.  It provided me with an inspiring opportunity to expand my restaurant visions and offered me an new avenue on which to continue to cook and share my love for food.  I’ve gone back to my roots and moved forward with new found freedom.  I am beyond thrilled to be reopening my TLK doors to you this summer at The Mill at Freedom Falls, the once dilapidated old mill that I paraded past many a fourth of July and where the waters of that very pond I still skate on, swim in and fish from flow past…freely.  Construction is well underway, the new kitchen is taking shape and I’ll be sure to keep you posted as the opening day comes closer and the doors are ready to be opened to you.  Stay tuned and see you soon at:
{the} Lost Kitchen at The Mill at Freedom Falls
22 Mill Street
Freedom, Maine
Cheers,
Erin
To my mum: So much love, thanks and gratitude for all of your support through my moments of struggle, days of great triumph and everything in-between. You are the fletch to my arrow. I am beyond grateful. 
xo,
Erin

To my mum: So much love, thanks and gratitude for all of your support through my moments of struggle, days of great triumph and everything in-between. You are the fletch to my arrow. I am beyond grateful. 

xo,

Erin

F O R C I N G    S P R I N G 

I was recently remembering an unusually warm October afternoon past: I lounged in the sun in a t-shirt and conversed with a friend about my fear that our children would never know a real New England winter, like the ones we knew growing up.  Our current Maine winter has proved my theory wrong, to say the least!  The everlasting winter has had its grasp on us for far too long now and cabin fever has set in.  We are bursting with cravings for green grass, budding blossoms, chirping birds, lingering daylight and the opportunity to shed the layers of clothes we’ve been trudging around in for months now.  

Forcing blossoms at home is an easy and inexpensive way to speed up spring and feed the cravings for a change of season.  Simply take clippings from a spring blossoming bush or tree such as forsythia, quince, cherry, apple or magnolia and immerse in a favorite vase filled with warm water.  Within a week or two, tiny buds will begin to emerge followed by beautiful blossoms.  Additionally, if you lightly pound the cut ends of the twigs with a hammer before immersing in water the branches will be able to soak up even more warmth.  Replenish the warm water daily to speed things up even faster!

Have faith, spring is on the way, and take note of the signs that are beginning to pop up around us.  Red breasted robins are starting to make their seasonal debut, the days are getting longer, and within a few short weeks the thaw will begin and we will welcome the long awaited change of season.  Until then, you can force it a bit. 

THINK SPRING!

Erin

S H I N Y    &    N E W

A fresh start, a shiny beginning, a new year.  Its easy to find feelings of renewal, even amidst the frigid Maine winter temperatures, with a chance to leave behind all that didn’t lift us up, all that let us down and embrace the opportunity to start clean, with visions of glistening days on the horizon.  This year will be better than the last, we tell ourselves each year.  We make resolutions, promises and goals to be better and do more.  

2013 presented me with some of the greatest challenges of my life but after recapping I’ve taken time to pause and realize that it was this last year that lead me to where I am this year.  I celebrate the tragedies endured as they have provided me with countless lessons to be learned and have shaped me into who I have become today and have guided me to where I will head tomorrow.  Without last year, I wouldn’t be right here, right now, ready to take on the challenges and joys and lessons to be learned from this fresh year that stands in front of us all.  Greet this new year with an open heart and open mind and sense of knowing that you came through last year and are all the more stronger and wiser for it.  I leave you with a photo journey of my year past and a few of my resolutions for the year to come. Cheers to last year and the journey it took us on to get us to this shiny, new year right in front of us.

Erin

- Write more, blog more, post more, share more.

- Make more time to stretch, walk, or practice yoga daily.  

- Drink more water.  Eat breakfast, consistently.

- Give better hugs, practice daily.

- Take deep breaths, everyday.

- Get that Airstream all polished up, shiny and new.

Roadside Rummaging 

Mainers are frugal.  We are raised to use all our resources and make good use of the land around us: hunting, fishing, foraging, pickling & preserving.  We pay close attention to nature, the seasons and the wild goods that are available to us.  

My regular driving and walking routes inevitably take on a subconscious hunt; eyes peeled wide open for anything that could be put to use in some way.  I have no shame when it comes to pulling over on any given roadside edge, jumping through wet ditches and pushing my way through puckerbrush to get to twigs with bright red berries to fill a winter window box with or a shrub heavy with elderflowers to steep into a cordial;  forsythia or bittersweet vines to add to a floral arrangement; juniper to throw into a skillet of steaming mussels; velvety moss cushions to bring life to a flower pot; ripe rose hips for a tart jam & wild sunchokes, their tubers nutty and delicious.

Love and gratitude to my mom, who taught me to pay infinite attention to my surroundings….and to always keep a good pair of pruning shears, a basket and a pair of boots in the back of my car.  Because you never know what you may find along the roadside of your travels.     

Cheers to Eyes Wide Open,

Erin

Summer in Maine has its way of capturing us.  It captures us through work; the days are longer, the sun is warmer, it encourages us to accomplish as much as we can in this short, sweet season.  There is so much to be done.  Gardens to tend, lawns to mow, projects to complete.  We find ourselves sopping up every little ounce of this far too short of a season as fast as we can before the days grow shorter and cooler.  I’ve always believed true Mainers to have four jobs; one for every season.  The problem usually is that we jam pack all four jobs into one season: summer.  

And then we are captured by the pleasures of Maine summer:  swimming as much as possible before the waters turn icy and frigid again; harvesting fruits before they have fallen to the ground and have gone by within a blink of an eye; eating outside as much as possible to absorb the last of the warm evening sun and embrace the August night breezes that keep the mosquitos away.  The crickets chirp louder, the moon rises fuller.   These are the days and nights we dream of on cold, February eves.  Quintessential Maine summer moments.  We look back and always think how terribly short this season was, wondering why it can’t last longer and thinking about all of the extra time we need to accomplish all that we had hoped for, and never got to, this summer.  

I think about all of the blog posts I “should have gotten to”, but didn’t, and the strawberry preserves I had high hopes for making before the fields were picked bare.  The false promise I made to dry bunches upon bunches of lavender, window boxes I hoped to have planted and the camping trip to Swans Island that I never found time for.  It’s easy to think about all that we didn’t do, see or make.  Frustrated, irritated, robbed of time, in need of more of this season we love so much.  But take a moment to remember…all that you did do, all that you did see, and all that you did make…

This summer I…

Used a skill saw for the first time.

Bought my first hammer and drill driver.

Built 8 tables from reclaimed boards from a neighbors barn.  I’ve still got the splinters to prove it.

Gutted a 1965 Airstream with a sledgehammer and my bare hands.  Turned it into a kitchen.  Hosted a slew of pop up suppers.

Hitched up and trailered the 24 ft camper solo (well, the dog was with me).

Stopped at every flea market I crossed.  Got a birdcage, vintage Limoges and a retro juicer, to name a few.  Discovered my unknown talent of dickering.  

Foraged for wild peas, mustard greens, strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, sea heather, flowers and more.  Got poison ivy twice.

Took up yoga.  Finally.

Cooked with rose hips for the first time ever.  Not the last time.

Made a mission to find the best burger in Maine.  Hands down winner, Owls Head General Store.

Discovered Rolfing; European integrated (intense!) massage & stretching.  Life changing.  Swear I stand 2 inches taller.

Made homemade skin cleansers and teas for practically pennies.

Got a wicked sun tan.  Years overdue.

Became a regular at John’s Ice Cream stand.  Addicted to cookies and cream.

Dried zillions of calendula blossoms.  Still wondering what to do with them.

Rediscovered vinyl.  Life’s better with the crackle of Billie Holiday in the background.  I’m in love.                  

Adopted a dog.  Still question who rescued who.

Ate popovers slathered in butter to my hearts content overlooking Jordan Pond at Acadia National Park.

Learned the art of building a fire.  And how to pick a perfect “night time log”…after many frigid early summer mornings in my cabin.

Took the ferry to Vinalhaven just to eat ice cream and lay on the beach.  Twice.

Walked the Asticou azalea gardens.  Took lots of deep breaths.

Swam in the ocean on a hot day.  First time in years.  Never felt so relaxed.

Fell in love with the Brooksville area.  Made new friend and visited new farms and markets on the Blue Hill peninsula.  

Walked a lot, hiked a bit.  Did a cartwheel once.

Had a picnic in a greenhouse in the pouring rain.

Walked the Rockland breakwater for the first time after all of these years.

Tandem kayaked with my son, Jaim, over the Penobscot Bay. 

Cooked barefoot under an apple orchard, by candlelight.

Ate more than my fair share of s’mores.

Stopped to take in the smells of the salty ocean breezes, fresh cut fields of hay, and of course…the roses.

A busy summer indeed.  Full of sights seen, projects completed, lessons learned and memories made.  As we ready ourselves to say goodbye to one season and greet the next, I am content and fulfilled.  Feeling beyond lucky to call this little corner of the world home.  Summer, we will miss you, but I’m now looking forward to the changing of seasons…the smell woodsmoke, the taste of the first ripe apple and the turning of the leaves.  And maybe, just maybe, I’ll get to that damn strawberry jam next year.

All the Best,

Erin


The ad read:
FOR SALE: 1965 AIRSTREAM
PRICE: BEST OFFER
LOCATION: BAT CAVE, NC

There was only one thing to do…”To the Bat Cave!”, like superheroes, to retrieve a vintage Airstream.

All has not been lost. Without walls, we’re going mobile. This summer we will be found…in fields, at farms, with friends and family. A cultivated calendar of dinner events that will bring the fork to field, TLK style. The Airstream is en route, our website is in design, the locations have been scouted. Stay tuned for renovation photos, website launch and calendar if events. A new adventure. Here we go…

Rock the House…

On May 17th, I traveled to New York City with two of my former TLK coworkers, and hosted a dinner at The James Beard Foundation for a sold out crowd of nearly 80 people. We jam packed our car with coolers upon coolers of local produce, galvenized buckets of apple blossoms, boxes of vintage platters and quart size ball jars filled with iced coffee for the long drive. Three young women, with no formal culinary training, just big hearts and love for food, next stop NYC. Possibly the first all chick crew without chef whites to ever grace that kitchen. Four passed appetizers, 175 shucked oysters, 80 poached eggs, 9 frozen terrines and 5 courses later, we crashed from exhilaration and great feelings of unfathomed accomplishment. Proof that you can do anything you put you mind to. We rocked James Beard’s House, with love, from Maine.

Between the shores of Ise au Haut and Vinalhaven lies a very old island.  Hundreds and hundreds of years ago, a small hole in the ocean floor erupted with volcanic magma.  The magma cooled and volcanic rock was formed.  Years went by and eventually the little Maine island was formed from the volcanic remains.  Deep black rocks defined the shore, making it difficult for boats to anchor, difficult to access the beautiful unspoiled land.  The seasons changed, the waves came in, the waves came out.  The burning sun would shine, the howling wind would blow.  Vicious storms would grace the tiny island tearing through it’s rocky beach and tender pines.  The frigid winter brought frozen, crashing, white waves and the heat of the summer clashed with thunder and lightning.  The black stones of this once volcanic island remained, suffering through all of the elements.  Make your way to the beaches of this island today and you will find a sprawling carpet of black, soft, smooth, glistening stones.   Hard to believe.   After all of the tumbling, crashing, twirling, freezing, drowning.  These stones have been through absolute hell…and are all the more beautiful because of their experience.  Such is life.  Hell happens, but beauty can prevail. 

The Lost Kitchen, LOST?  Far from it.  When the bumps in the road are beyond control, FIND a different route.  The walls of that beautiful building need not dictate my ability to share my love for cooking.  I’ve got my hands, I’ve got my heart, I’ve got my mind and many visions.  Walls?  Who needs em!?  You Can’t Keep a Good Girl Down.  The storm has been weathered, beauty is prevailing.  I have found another route. 

Stay tuned.  Beautiful things to come…

Between the shores of Ise au Haut and Vinalhaven lies a very old island. Hundreds and hundreds of years ago, a small hole in the ocean floor erupted with volcanic magma. The magma cooled and volcanic rock was formed. Years went by and eventually the little Maine island was formed from the volcanic remains. Deep black rocks defined the shore, making it difficult for boats to anchor, difficult to access the beautiful unspoiled land. The seasons changed, the waves came in, the waves came out. The burning sun would shine, the howling wind would blow. Vicious storms would grace the tiny island tearing through it’s rocky beach and tender pines. The frigid winter brought frozen, crashing, white waves and the heat of the summer clashed with thunder and lightning. The black stones of this once volcanic island remained, suffering through all of the elements. Make your way to the beaches of this island today and you will find a sprawling carpet of black, soft, smooth, glistening stones. Hard to believe. After all of the tumbling, crashing, twirling, freezing, drowning. These stones have been through absolute hell…and are all the more beautiful because of their experience. Such is life. Hell happens, but beauty can prevail.

The Lost Kitchen, LOST? Far from it. When the bumps in the road are beyond control, FIND a different route. The walls of that beautiful building need not dictate my ability to share my love for cooking. I’ve got my hands, I’ve got my heart, I’ve got my mind and many visions. Walls? Who needs em!? You Can’t Keep a Good Girl Down. The storm has been weathered, beauty is prevailing. I have found another route.

Stay tuned. Beautiful things to come…

GOING DEEP…

Life presents us with challenges each and every day.  They can come in the form of small frustrations, in which we can sometimes remind ourselves….step back for a brief moment, take a deep breath…pause…then carry on.  And then there are rare moments within our lives, so trying, so difficult, so painful, they take us to our knees.  We’ve met our match, hit our wall, we can’t simply carry on.  Thats when it’s time to “go deep”: to take time for deeper breaths, a longer pause, a larger commitment to dig into the scary self truths that got us face to face with this difficult time.

I went deep.  Real deep.  In desperate need for a change of perspective, in search for a new way of thinking, a new outlook, new patterns and behaviors.  No one ever promised life was easy, relationships were anything but complex, and that restaurant business was anything different.  Life, relationships, work…unpredictable, complex and challenging…yet beautiful, intricate and rewarding.  So often we get caught up in the hustle and bustle of our day in and day out that it can feel impossible to take time out to get in touch with ourselves.  And I’m no different.  I’ve have earned a great track record of running myself ragged into the ground with work, becoming increasingly imbalanced in so many areas of my life. I continually pushed all of the imbalance deeper and deeper as I was too busy with life to “deal” with it.  It accumulated, festered and grew until I could no longer deny it.  Life needed to be “dealt” with.  

I opened my eyes, opened my ears, opened my heart, and what I learned has changed my life.  I leaned about how to find the courage to face my fears and how to accept all of the things I cannot change.  I discovered how to forgive and let go, over and over again.   I taught myself how remain in the present, acknowledge my thoughts and emotions, and discovered that I could control my reactions.  I practiced the notion of radical acceptance and began to feel the tremendous weight that I had been carrying around obliviously for so long begin to lift.  The demanding, 18 hour, blood, sweat and teary filled work days at The Lost Kitchen drove me to finally “find” myself.  I found that things were not actually falling apart, the pieces were just falling into place…

Now, I remind myself when I think I know someones story, I just might not.  When I see a smile, it doesn’t mean there isn’t pain hiding behind it.  We all  have delicate pages behind the thick covers we sometimes display.  Take the time, take the courage, to open that heavy cover, read the delicate stories of your own life to yourself, with great care and deep acceptance.  As I begin my journey to ascending to the surface, I look so forward to returning home and to The Lost Kitchen, happier, healthier, found.  I can’t wait to take a big, deep breath of salty, sweet Maine air, in my very favorite season, spring…the season of new beginnings.  See you soon!

Much Love & Gratitude to You All,
Erin

GOING DEEP…

Life presents us with challenges each and every day.  They can come in the form of small frustrations, in which we can sometimes remind ourselves….step back for a brief moment, take a deep breath…pause…then carry on.  And then there are rare moments within our lives, so trying, so difficult, so painful, they take us to our knees.  We’ve met our match, hit our wall, we can’t simply carry on.  Thats when it’s time to “go deep”: to take time for deeper breaths, a longer pause, a larger commitment to dig into the scary self truths that got us face to face with this difficult time.

I went deep.  Real deep.  In desperate need for a change of perspective, in search for a new way of thinking, a new outlook, new patterns and behaviors.  No one ever promised life was easy, relationships were anything but complex, and that restaurant business was anything different.  Life, relationships, work…unpredictable, complex and challenging…yet beautiful, intricate and rewarding.  So often we get caught up in the hustle and bustle of our day in and day out that it can feel impossible to take time out to get in touch with ourselves.  And I’m no different.  I’ve have earned a great track record of running myself ragged into the ground with work, becoming increasingly imbalanced in so many areas of my life. I continually pushed all of the imbalance deeper and deeper as I was too busy with life to “deal” with it.  It accumulated, festered and grew until I could no longer deny it.  Life needed to be “dealt” with.  

I opened my eyes, opened my ears, opened my heart, and what I learned has changed my life.  I leaned about how to find the courage to face my fears and how to accept all of the things I cannot change.  I discovered how to forgive and let go, over and over again.   I taught myself how remain in the present, acknowledge my thoughts and emotions, and discovered that I could control my reactions.  I practiced the notion of radical acceptance and began to feel the tremendous weight that I had been carrying around obliviously for so long begin to lift.  The demanding, 18 hour, blood, sweat and teary filled work days at The Lost Kitchen drove me to finally “find” myself.  I found that things were not actually falling apart, the pieces were just falling into place…

Now, I remind myself when I think I know someones story, I just might not.  When I see a smile, it doesn’t mean there isn’t pain hiding behind it.  We all  have delicate pages behind the thick covers we sometimes display.  Take the time, take the courage, to open that heavy cover, read the delicate stories of your own life to yourself, with great care and deep acceptance.  As I begin my journey to ascending to the surface, I look so forward to returning home and to The Lost Kitchen, happier, healthier, found.  I can’t wait to take a big, deep breath of salty, sweet Maine air, in my very favorite season, spring…the season of new beginnings.  See you soon!

Much Love & Gratitude to You All,

Erin