Fall in Maine,  Holidays

Our Agents’ Favorite Thanksgiving Recipes

We are excited to share some of our agents’ favorite recipes to prepare for Thanksgiving, ranging from classics like stuffing and apple pie, to an autumn-inspired cocktail and a quick and easy pumpkin dip.

This year’s Thanksgiving collection features delicious recipes from Sandra Wendland of our Portland Office, Emilie Cole of our Portland Office, Linda Painter of our Damariscotta Office, and Annemarie Ahearn of our Camden Office. You might notice several of the recipes below were submitted by Annemarie, and that’s because she wears (at least) two hats: a real estate agent, and a professional chef who founded the Salt Water Farm Cooking School in Lincolnville. The recipes originally appeared in her cookbooks, Modern Country Cooking and Full Moon Suppers at Salt Water Farm. She is offering several cooking classes over the holidays (remotely over Zoom) and more in the New Year.



Caramel Apple Mimosas

Recipe submitted by Sandra Wendland
Portland Office

This twist on a traditional mimosa is for those who like to start the holiday off with an aperitif. This recipe, originally featured on delish.com, was submitted by agent Sandra Wendland from the Portland office as her favorite cocktail for the holidays.


2 tbsp. caramel
2 tbsp. cinnamon sugar
1 c. apple cider
8 oz. caramel vodka
1 750-ml bottle bubbly
Apple slices, for garnish


Pour caramel into a small dish. Pour cinnamon sugar into another small dish. Dip champagne flutes into the caramel to rim glass, then dip in cinnamon sugar until coated. Pour 1/4 cup apple cider and 2 ounces caramel vodka into each flute and top with bubbly. Garnish with an apple slice before serving.


Fire Roasted Oysters with Bacon & Herb Dressing

Recipe by Annemarie Ahearn
Camden Office
Photo by Kristin Teig

Serves 8-10

12 oysters, shucked (try to keep as much of the liquid as possible)
4 strips thick bacon
1/2 loaf day old country bread, cut into slices
2 tablespoons olive oil
Kosher salt and fresh ground pepper
2 shallots, minced
A handful of savory herbs, finely chopped
4 tablespoons butter

Brush bread with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Toast bread over the Tuscan grill and then pulse in a Cuisinart until you have coarse bread crumbs. In a cast-iron frying pan, render bacon over medium-low heat. Once the meat begins to crisp, remove with a slotted spoon and set aside. Add the butter and let melt. Sauté shallots for 5 minutes, until soft. Add breadcrumbs and savory herbs and mix. Cook for about five minutes or until bread is golden. Arrange stuffing in oyster shells around the oysters and in the liqueur. Place over an open fire for 5-10 minutes or until the liquid is bubbling and the bread is toasty.


Holiday Pumpkin Dip

Recipe submitted by Emilie Cole
Portland Office

This recipe was a “sweet and simple favorite” recipe submitted by agent Emilie Cole of the Portland office.


1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese, softened
2 cups powdered sugar
1 can (15 ounces) solid-pack pumpkin
3 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Apple and pear slices
Sugar or spice cookies

In a large mixing bowl, beat the cream cheese and powdered sugar. Gradually add the pumpkin, pie spice, and vanilla; beat until smooth. Serve with fruit or cookies. Refrigerate leftovers.


Raw Brussels Sprouts & Kale Salad with Cranberries and Almonds

Recipe by Annemarie Ahearn
Camden Office
Photo by Kristin Teig

Serves 8

1 bunch kale
2 cups Brussels sprouts, cut as thinly as possible
1/4 cup slivered almonds
1/4 cup dried cranberries
1 cup Parmesan cheese, finely grated

For the dressing:
2 cloves garlic
1 tablespoon grain mustard
2 shallots, minced
Zest and juice of a lemon
2 tablespoons Sherry vinegar
Red pepper flakes
4 tablespoons of olive oil
Kosher salt and fresh ground pepper

Remove the ribs from the kale by pulling the leaf backward against the rib. Then chiffonade the kale. Using a mandoline, shave each Brussels sprout into thin strips, holding the root end and running it through the mandoline being careful not to cut yourself. Toss in a bowl with the kale and keep in the fridge until ready to dress.

To make the dressing, mash 2 cloves garlic in the base of a mortar and pestle with a pinch of salt. Add the grain mustard, shallots, lemon juice and zest, Sherry vinegar and red pepper flakes. Then stir in olive oil and season with salt and pepper to taste. Let the flavors mingle for about 20 minutes. Dress the salad about 10 minutes before you are ready to serve. Toss with almonds, cranberries, and Parmesan.


The Main Event


Sourdough, Sausage, Apple Sage & Sherry Stuffing

Recipe by Annemarie Ahearn
Camden Office
Photo by Kristin Teig

Serves 4

6 tablespoons butter
4 thick slices of sourdough
Kosher salt and fresh ground pepper
3 sausages, meat pulled from casings and broken up into small pieces
1 yellow onion, medium dice
3 celery stalks, medium dice
1 sweet/tart apple, medium dice
1 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary
1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
4 sage leaves, roughly chopped
½ cup golden raisins
A pinch of nutmeg
½ cup sherry
2 cups chicken stock
¼ cup roughly chopped Italian flat-leaf parsley

Preheat the oven to 375. Melt two tablespoons butter over the stove top. Cut the bread into ¾ inch cubes and place them on a sheet tray. Pour the butter over the bread and salt and pepper generously. Toss with your hands to coat and massage the butter into the bread. Place in the oven for 10-15 minutes or until the bread is golden brown on the edges. Depending on your oven, you may have to turn the tray or shake up the bread crumbs to turn them. Once they are golden, move them to a big mixing bowl.

In a large, heavy-bottom pot, melt four tablespoons butter. Add the sausage meat to the butter and cook through over medium heat. Add the onions, celery and a pinch of salt and continue to cook over medium/low heat for 10 minutes with the cover on. Add the apple to the pot and cook, uncovered for an additional 5 minutes. Add the rosemary, thyme, raisins and nutmeg and continue to cook for a minute or two. Turn the heat off, so as not to ignite the sherry, and add the sherry to the pot. Now turn the heat up to the medium/high heat and let some of the alcohol burn off, about 3-4 minutes. Remove from heat and add the stuffing ingredients to the bread crumbs. Add half of the parsley. Ladle 1 cup of stock over the stuffing and gently fold the ingredients to mix. The bread will slowly absorb the stock. Once it does, add the remaining 1 cup stock and continue to fold until the stock is fully absorbed. The stuffing should be moist and a little spongy, but not wet. Move to a baking dish that can accommodate the volume of stuffing. Place in a 375-degree oven for 30 minutes. The top should be crisp and golden when done. Serve family-style with a big spoon alongside a roast chicken, or yes, a golden gobbler.


Beet Gratin with Cheddar & Oat Crumble 

Recipe by Annemarie Ahearn
Camden Office
Photo by Kristin Teig

Serves 6

For the gratin:
1 bunch of beets and their greens
Kosher salt
6 tablespoons unsalted butter
2/3 cup flour
2 cups milk
Fresh ground black peppercorns to taste
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon Tabasco sauce
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
2 cups finely grated cheddar cheese
Butter for greasing the pan

For the oat topping:
1 cup walnuts, finely chopped
2/3 cup oats
½ cup All-purpose flour
½ teaspoon Kosher salt
¼ teaspoon nutmeg
6 tablespoons butter kept cold

Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Cut the beets from their greens and clean both. Cut the greens into two-inch pieces. Salt the water generously. Add the greens and cook for two minutes. Remove with a set of tongs, shake off the water and set on a plate. Reserve. Then add the beets to the water and let cook for 25 minutes or until tender. Drain pot and let beets cool. Peel them. Then, with a mandolin slice them 1/8 of an inch thick and set in a bowl.

In a large sauté pan, melt butter over medium-low heat. Whisk in flour, creating a roux. Let cook for a minute or two, continuing to whisk. Gradually add milk to thin out the roux, making a béchamel. Now add Worcestershire sauce, Tabasco sauce and Dijon mustard. Whisk grated cheddar into the sauce. Continue whisking and cook until the texture is uniform, another two to three minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Make the topping: In a medium mixing bowl, combine walnuts, oats, flour, salt and nutmeg. Cut the butter into small pieces and cut into the topping mixture until you have the texture of coarse meal.

Now you have all of the components and can build your gratin. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 9” X 9” baking pan. Spoon half of the béchamel into the base and spread out evenly, coating the bottom of the pan. Now spread half of the beets and beet greens across the béchamel. Sprinkle a little salt across the beets. Now add a second layer of béchamel, coating the beets. Again, place a layer of beets and beet greens across the sauce. Finish with dish with a heavy layer of the crumble. Place the gratin (it will weigh quite a bit) on a sheet pan in case it bubbles over. Place in the oven for 40-45 minutes. Serve hot.


Celery Root & Parsnip Gratin 

Recipe by Annemarie Ahearn
Camden Office

There is simply no denying the fact that the making of good gratin takes time and a heavy dose of calories. Some boil the root vegetables ahead of time, shortening the cook time and minimizing the amount of milk and cream necessary to cook the vegetables through. I figure, if you are making a gratin, just stick with the traditional method and enjoy every last bite. Then begin making your New Year’s resolutions.

Serves 8

8” X 8” baking dish
4 tablespoons butter
4 cloves of garlic, minced
2 cups milk
2 cups cream
2 celery roots, finely sliced on a mandoline
4 parsnips, finely sliced on a mandoline
8 sprigs thyme, leaves picked from stems
Kosher salt and fresh ground pepper
2 cups grated Parmesan

A gratin can be made in a number of vessels: a glass baking dish, a copper pan or a ceramic baking dish. Most importantly, the vegetables must fit properly in the vessel. For this recipe, I used a 8” X 8” baking dish. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Make sure you are properly set up. Like making lasagna, you’ll need all the components at arm’s reach and fully prepped. First, melt the butter in a little saucepan and cook the garlic until it softens. You don’t want it to get any color at all.

Now, pour the garlic and butter into a large liquid measuring cup with the milk and cream. You’ll need a ladle. Begin by adding one ladleful of the garlic cream to the base of the baking dish. Now, layer the celery root across the bottom of the dish, overlapping each piece by about ½ inch. Now scatter the parsnips in another layer, covering the celery root. Sprinkle the root vegetables with 1/3 of the cheese, thyme, salt and pepper.

Now, pour another ladle or two of garlic cream evenly over the cheese. Now repeat this process. You should be able to do it 2-3 times before reaching the top of the dish. Don’t hesitate to press the ingredients down into the baking dish. The cream should fill the baking dish about ¾ of the way to the top. Remember, the root vegetables are uncooked and need plenty of liquid to cook through. I usually finish with a sprinkling of cheese, as there is nothing more enticing than the look of melted cheese.

Now, cover the gratin with aluminum foil. This will allow the vegetables to steam and cook through faster. Place in the oven for 1 hour. Remove the foil and let the gratin gain some color on top, another 25-30 minutes. You want a nice golden brown to contrast with the white vegetables within. Make sure to let it rest for at least 10 minutes. Nothing holds heat like a gratin.




Cranberry Nut Bread

Recipe submitted by Linda Painter
Damariscotta Office

This recipe is passed down from our agent Linda Painter of the Damariscotta office’s grandmother, Nonie. Her insider tip is you can even make it ahead of the holidays and freeze it!

2 C Flour
1 Scant C Sugar
1/2 tsp. Salt
1/2 tsp. Baking Powder

1 egg, beaten
juice & rind of 1 Orange
2 Tbsp. Butter
Add water to equal 3/4 C liquid

Mix liquid into dry ingredients, then add: 1 C chopped, or whole Cranberries and 1/2 C chopped Walnuts.

Butter and flour bread pan and bake at 325 degrees for 1 hour.


Apple Pie with Lattice Crust & Maple Ice Cream 

Recipe by Annemarie Ahearn
Camden Office
Photo by Kristin Teig

In our cooking classes at Salt Water Farm, most of the students shy away from making pie crust. It’s a pity really because there is nothing more satisfying than making a beautiful pie. The three common mistakes are as follows: Many cooks (and recipes) have a tendency to add too much water, forgetting that there is water suspended in butter. Second, many people are afraid to handle pie dough without tearing it, but using two sheets of parchment paper to roll it out works like a charm. It stays together and you can easily transport it and lay it in the pie dish. Third, they let the dough warm up. Keep it cold! If the dough is getting warm, pop it in the fridge until it chills a bit. Never put a soft, warm crust directly into a hot oven because it will shrink.

Serves 8

For the pie crust:
2 1/2 cups flour, sifted
2 tablespoon sugar, plus more for sprinkling
1 teaspoon kosher salt
18 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
3-5 tablespoons ice water

For the filling:
6 apples, something tart and sweet like Braeburn or Honey Crisp, thinly sliced
3/4 cup sugar
3 tablespoons flour
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg

For the egg wash:
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 tablespoon heavy cream
2 tablespoons melted butter
1 tablespoon raw sugar

Make the crust: Combine flour, sugar, and salt in a mixing bowl. Cut in butter until it resembles coarse meal. Gradually add ice water, 1 tablespoon at a time, making sure not to add too much, until the dough comes together. Transfer dough to a lightly floured surface, divide in half and form 2 dough balls, one slightly bigger than the other. Flatten each dough ball slightly to make a disk. Wrap disks in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 20 minutes.

Heat oven to 425˚. Roll out the larger of the two disks to about 1/8 of an inch thick between two pieces of parchment paper. Line a pie dish with the pastry and place in the refrigerator for 15 minutes. Roll out the other disk between the same two pieces of parchment paper and place on a sheet pan in the refrigerator.

Make the filling: In a medium bowl, combine the apples, sugar, flour, vinegar, cinnamon, salt, and nutmeg. Put filling into the chilled bottom pie crust. Remove the top crust from the refrigerator and cut into ½-inch strips. Lay three strips horizontally across the pie and fold the first and the third halfway back. Lay a fourth strip perpendicular across the center and unfold the first and the third strip over the fourth strip. Lay a fifth strip parallel and to the left of the fourth strip, over the first and third strip. Pick up the right side of the first and third strip and lay a sixth strip parallel to the fourth and fifth strip. Lay the first and third strips back down on top of the sixth strip. Pinch the edge of the pie together where the strips meet and crimp the edges all the way around the circumference in a uniform fashion. Mix the egg wash ingredients together with a whisk. Brush all of the pastry with the egg wash and sprinkle with raw sugar. Transfer pie to oven and bake for 20 minutes. Reduce heat to 350 degrees and continue baking until crust is golden brown, about 40 minutes more. Transfer to a rack and let cool for 2 hours before serving. This step is extremely important as all pies must set up properly; otherwise, they are simply liquid inside.

Maple Ice Cream
Makes 2 quarts

4 cups whole milk
4 cups heavy cream
1/2 cup maple syrup
1/2 cup sugar
1 vanilla bean
8 egg yolks
Dash of salt

Heat milk and cream in a medium pot over medium heat. When the mixture begins to steam, whisk in maple syrup and sugar. Cut vanilla bean lengthwise and scoop out seeds and put both the seeds and the vanilla pod into the pot. Add a dash of salt. Turn off heat, cover the pot with a lid, and let steep for 1 hour. Meanwhile, separate egg yolks from egg whites. Save the egg whites for another use. After the mixture has steeped, turn the heat back on. Add 1 tablespoon of milk/cream mixture to egg yolks to temper the egg yolks. Then slowly whisk the egg yolks back into the pot and stir constantly over low heat to thicken the custard. Remove from heat. Then, cool the mixture in the refrigerator for 4-8 hours before processing. Process in an ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s directions.