Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Gilsland Farm Audubon Center-Peony Garden

 I stopped off yesterday at the Gilsland Farm Audubon Center in Falmouth on my way home from a hike in Bradbury Mountain State Park. I wanted to pick up some brochures for the inn as it a great place to go for a walk.  They have an incredible Peonies Garden that was blooming. It was the creation of the former owner David Moulton, a Portland lawyer and dedicated conservationist. They have rows and rows of these unusual and beautiful peony plants that he care for for over forty years and the Audubon has continued.  I had never seen so many varieties in one place. If you happen to be visiting Portland during this special time in June you must go see this awesome sight. If you really plan in right you can go to their yearly ice cream social to celebrate the Peonies in bloom. I am taking my Mom tomorrow night!
 The center has great trails for walking and observing the wildlife and habitat of the different bird species. It it where the Presumpscot River meets the Ocean so it is very beautiful estuary. It is also great to snow shoe in the winter along the trails. So stop by and enjoy the views next time you are in Portland.

They also have a couple other center's that are close by in Scarborough and Freeport that are worth a trip to see. One of my older blogs was about canoeing the Scarborough Marsh with my sister.

Wild Iris Inn - 273 State Street Portland, ME 04101 800-600-1557      www.wildirisinn.com

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Portland Farmer's Market and Rhubarb Coffeecake

A favorite activity for my guests on Saturday morning is to stroll through our Farmer's Market at Deering Oaks Park. It is a short block and a half walk to the park and there you are, in Portland's biggest park. We have an incredible array of vendors and entertainment. From organic veggies, meats and plants to homemade tempeh, yogurt and sauerkraut. It is a lively place to experience and some interesting entertainment like jugglers, hoolahoopers and musicians. I went last week and bought some excellent honey and fresh rhubarb and make my favorite rhubarb coffeecake for my guest which was a big hit. See below for recipe! Next time you are in Portland for the weekend make sure to make time for a stroll through the market as you are sure to be entertained!

Rhubarb Coffeecake

Spiced Nut Crumb Topping
1/4 c brown sugar
1/4 c sugar
1/2 c unbleached flour
1 1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
6 TBS unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1/2 c chopped walnuts
1 stick unsalted butter at room temp
1/2 c brown sugar
1/2 sugar
2 large eggs
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
2 c unbleached flours
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
1/4 tsp salt
1 c buttermilk
1/2 lb fresh rhubarb finely copped to make 2 cups

1. Preheat oven to 350. Line bottom of 10 inch springform pan with parchment paper and grease sides.
2. To make crumb topping combine all dry ingredients except nuts and cut in butter with fingers or pastry cutter. Add walnuts and set aside.
3. To make coffeecake cream butter and sugars until light and fluffy and add eggs and vanilla, beat until smooth. In another bowl mix flours baking powder, baking soda, salt,and nutmeg, add to creamed mixture alternately with the buttermilk until creamy consistency, about 1 minute. Stir in rhubarb.
4. Using a rubber spatula scape batter into springform pan. Sprinkle evenly with crumb topping. Bake 40-45 minutes until cake tester inserted into center comes out clean. Cool completely in pan on rack.