I expect quite a few guests this summer, including two daughters, a daughter-in-law and granddaughters, along with friends on their way to Maine or Boston or maybe just to spend a day or two with me. We will spend some time at the beach (our beach in Groton is incredible) and maybe watch the fireworks in early July. I am pretty jazzed about the new ferry that will make a few stops, including from Groton to New London. I love the idea that I don’t have to find a parking place in New London, since we can walk from my condo to the Thames River slip. I will also take the ferry to have lunch or dinner at the many restaurants in walking distance from the ferry.
We might have breakfast there, too, but I have two other choices for breakfast. Both would take place in my dining room after I have made the recipes below. The first, for bran muffins (which I love!), came to me via my friend Diane, who just moved back to Connecticut and found a condo just a few steps from my own. One of her neighbors, Linda, took her these incredible muffins, and Diane shared two with me. The other came from a woman I met when I took a cooking class in Tuscany a few decades ago. That one you make the night before, then pop the pan into the oven the next morning.
Andrew Wyeth’s Aunt’s Bran Muffins
Yield: 12 large muffins
2 cups All-Bran cereal
1 1/2 cups milk
1/2 cup molasses
1 cup flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup chopped walnuts
¾ cup golden raisins
Heat oven to 400 degrees. Spray muffin pan with cooking oil and set aside.
Soak the cereal in milk and molasses for about 15 minutes.
Measure flour, baking sodas and salt into another bowl and blend into bran mixture. Mix only until moist. Add walnuts and raisins and mix together. Bake in preheated oven for about 20 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean. These are delicious immediately or warmed. I ate one at room temperature, too.
Creme Brulee French Toast
Yield: serves 6 to 8
1 cup pecans, chopped (optional)
1 stick unsalted butter
1 cup brown sugar
2 tablespoons light or dark corn syrup
French bread, crusts removed and sliced into 3/4 inch thick slabs
1 1/2 cups half-and-half
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon Cointreau or Grand Marnier (optional)
Butter a 13- by 9-inch glass pan, or spray with cooking oil. Spread chopped pecans in bottom of pan. Melt together butter, brown sugar and corn syrup and pour evenly over pecans.
Fit slabs of bread tightly over butter-sugar mixture.
Beat eggs, half-and-half, vanilla, salt and liqueur and pour over bread slices. Cover and chill for at least 8 hours or overnight.
Bake in preheated 350-degree oven for 35 to 40 minutes. Serve immediately.
Nibbles: Seahorse at Spicer’s Marina
When my husband and I got our first boat, we moored it in Noank. If we were going for the weekend I took food I had made at home. But more likely, we would meet each other after work in Noank and have lunch at the Seahorse. When we got a bigger boat, Jam Today, she lived at Shennecossett but continued to eat at the Seahorse.
I guess I forgot about the Seahorse after my husband died and I sold the boat. But on a Friday night a friend and I had a late dinner there (for me clams casino and fried calamari served with an amazing marinara). On Fathers’ Day, another friend and I ate there again; this time, I had the best baked cod ever. We asked who owned the place now and was told it was Zack Tsajarikis, whom I have known for more than 26 years. The food and casual ambience: as good as it gets.
Seahorse at Spicer’s Marina
65 Marsh Road
About the author: Lee White has been writing about restaurants and cooking since 1976 and has been extensively published in the Worcester (Mass.) Magazine, The Day, Norwich Bulletin, and Hartford Courant. She currently writes Nibbles and a cooking column called A La Carte for LymeLine.com and the Shore Publishing and the Times newspapers, both of which are owned by The Day.