This past weekend was one of those gorgeous summer weekends I don’t think either one of us will easily forget. We took a last-minute road trip four hours north, up the Maine coast, and spent two nights in the town of Bath. Bath itself is a sweet New England coastal town where you’re only able to shop and eat locally – no complaining here – and was built up around America’s shipbuilding industry in the 1700′s. It is still home to enormous shipyards that help maintain the town’s economy. The area around Bath affords boundless typical Maine activities that kept us busy the entire weekend.
After a stop in Portland for brunch on Saturday morning at our favorite little breakfast joint for corned beef hash topped with fried eggs and a side of grits, we rolled ourselves back in the car and pushed an hour further north to Bath. After hitting the weekly farmer’s market and quickly discovering the town’s ice cream shop to put away some of their whoopie pie ice cream (not even kidding), we drove up Route 1 in search of some roadside antique shops that you’ll find up and down Maine’s Route 1. Ten years ago I never would have said that sifting through other people’s old stuff in search of useful things was something I was interested in but today it’s one of our favorite things to do while in Maine. Dinner that night was sort of a lackluster lobster roll, if that’s even possible, at the dockside restaurant across from our hotel but another round of whoopie pie ice cream for dessert certainly lessened the sting from dinner.
We spent early Sunday morning strolling through Boothbay Harbor, checking out more shops and ooo-ing and ahhh-ing over harbor views and historic sea captain homes. On a whim I mailed my parents a post card, something I haven’t done since I was a teenager spending the summer in France. So fun!
Boothbay Harbor was followed by a drive to Sebasco Harbor to check out a gorgeous resort I’d read about (we cased it for a possible future stay) and a few hours spent lounging on Popham Beach State Park, wading through the tidal pools and witnessing a flock of desperate gulls steal and destroy two bags of chips from some beachgoer’s bag. It’s the little things that humor us!
Lunch was casual, with sandy toes and salty hair, at Taste of Maine where I had the fried whole belly clams (my favorite!) and Kyle had the fried clam strips, both of which were excellent. Our late afternoon was spent on a nature walk at Thorne Head Nature Preserve out to the overlook point above Merrymeeting Bay and then some coffee in a couple of the town Adirondack chairs facing the Kennebec River. Our hotel room overlooked the river as well and it was such a treat to wake up each morning to the sun rising over this river.
For dinner, we were impressed enough by Taste of Maine at lunch to head back for round 2. From the road, this place looks like a typical touristy seafood joint (and the locals probably think it is) but the food was great and the sunset views from the back dining deck were breathtaking, especially after the tide had come in before we arrived for dinner.
The weather happened to be really cool – 60s around dinner time – so we were fortunate enough to have outside seats for both lunch and dinner since neither of us mind pulling on a fleece to eat dinner in. That night, I had the lobster seafood casserole (omg good) and Kyle had the surf & turf (grilled sirloin – meh – with a whole lobster to pick – stellar).
Our Monday involved a stop in Freeport for some shopping at L.L. Bean and then some peak-season blueberry picking at a u-pick farm in Wells on our drive home. This was the first time either of us had picked blueberries and now we’re totally hooked! Because of Kyle’s allergies, we don’t do a lot of fruit picking but blueberries are one of the only fruits he can eat raw…and eat he did! With buckets tied around our waists and mouths full of fresh sweet berries, we picked 5lbs to bring home and use for whatever our hearts desired.
We lunched at Fisherman’s Catch in Wells after picking and stuffed our bellies full of a of couple lobstah rolls, clam strips, and clam chowder before we again poured ourselves into the car for our trip home.
Overall, we jammed a ton of stuff into two days, including a lot of talk about when we’re going back again (which is a pretty typical conversation we have each time we’re in Maine). Bath and its surrounding area have so much to offer that I’m confident a return trip is in our sights in the near future.
So…if you’re still reading and wondering when the heck I’m going to tell you about those fabulous blueberry ricotta galettes, now is the time. I naturally used some of the blueberries we picked on Monday and after a 10 minute spin of throwing a ricotta pie dough together, these galettes practically made themselves. The dough chilled for a few hours and then I rolled out a couple of rounds, mixed up the berries with basic pie filling ingredients, folded up the dough (the ricotta makes it really pliable and easy to work with), and baked them off for about 25 minutes.
The end result was what blueberry dreams are made of. I made smaller galettes to share with someone by quartering the dough recipe (and freezing the extra two pieces of dough for another time – like tonight!) and the crispy dough:sweet blueberry filling ratio was just so perfect. These free-form pies couldn’t be any easier to make and even though I’m still drooling over the all butter, really flakey pie dough I’ve been making for the past year, I think it would be too flakey for these little guys. I definitely wouldn’t change a single thing about them…except maybe swapping out the blueberries for apples in another month!
These free form pies are simple to make and are even more fantastic with in-season berries!
- 1 ¼ cup (160 grams) all-purpose flour
- ½ tsp table salt
- 1 ½ tsp granulated sugar
- Zest of half a lemon
- 8 tbsp (4 oz or 113 grams) cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces
- ¼ cup ricotta cheese, yogurt or sour cream
- 3 to 5 tbsp cold water
- 2 cups fresh blueberries
- 2 tbsp cornstarch
- 3 to 4 tbsp granulated sugar
- Pinch of table salt
- Juice of 1 lemon
- 1 egg yolk beaten with 1 tbsp water
- Coarse sugar
- To make the dough: Whisk the flour, salt, sugar, and zest together in a medium bowl. Work the butter chunks into the dry ingredients with your fingers, a pastry cutter, or two knives until the butter is the size of large peas. Stir the ricotta and 3 tablespoons of water together until combined and stir it into the other ingredients just until the dough holds together when gently squeezed. If it's too dry, add extra water a little at a time until it comes together. Shape the dough into a disk (or divide it into multiple disks for smaller galettes), wrap the dough in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least 1 hour or up to 48 - or freeze for up to 2 months.
- Preheat the oven to 400° F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Roll out the dough on a well-floured surface to about 14-inches in diameter. Transfer the dough to the baking sheet.
- To assemble: Stir the filling ingredients together in a medium bowl and pour them into the center of the dough round, leaving a 2-inch border around the outside of the dough. Fold up the edges of the dough so that they overlap the previously folded edge. Brush the top of the dough with the egg wash. I like to brush a little between the dough folds as well to ensure the dough sticks together and doesn't leak fruit juice while baking. Sprinkle the dough with sugar.
- Bake for 30 minutes, or until the dough is golden brown and the blueberries have puffed up. Transfer the baking sheet to a wire rack to cool for 5 to 10 minutes before serving warm or allow the galettes to cool to room temperature before serving.
adapted from Smitten Kitchen
Note: All photos from our Maine trip were taken with my iPhone 5 and edited using the Afterlight app. I used my dSLR for the photos of the galettes.