Recipes from Bike Maine part 1
Less than a year after moving to Maine, I had the opportunity to sign up to be a part of Maine Farm and Sea’s culinary team for BikeMaine 2019. The route for that year started and ended in Waterville, winding through the gorgeous mid coast of Maine. As a new Mainer I was thrilled to see my new home this way, meeting folks who are passionate about cycling, agriculture, and their communities along the way.
I dabbled in all parts of meal service but focused mostly on lunch. A bit different than breakfast and dinner, lunch was a nice break in the day for riders between where they woke up and where they were to rest their heads at night. It tends to be a quick, rapid fire meal service that feels like it is over before you can even blink. However, like the other meals, lunch is taken on by a community group and is seen as a unique opportunity to show off often unknown areas of rural Maine.
There is no doubt that working directly with Maine’s communities is one of the greatest highlights of my experience in 2019. There is a particular buzz about the air as you work with a team from the local church, school, or community center who are anticipating the arrival of 300-500 hungry people! Oftentimes, vendors who provide food for lunch and stores who are temporarily storing goods, are referred to by the owner’s first name rather than the business’ name, which, to me, indicates the strong community bond and support.
Even more exciting is that many of the greatest hits are recipes sourced directly from those who are cooking and serving it! The best example of this from 2019 is Monroe’s Italian Fagioli Soup - a recipe from the church’s (who hosted lunch) own Sharon Smith’s mother in law that had never been written down before BikeMaine! This soup is full of veggies, beans, and pasta and tastes both heartily filling and light all at once.
Cyclists enjoyed this soup with sandwiches and Stone Fox Farm Creamery brownie sundaes for dessert. Local students who were in class nearby also decorated signs of support for bikers while they ate! Almost a year later and it still sticks out as a wonderful meal, served by wonderful folks.
Below is the recipe to serve 6-8. Enjoy!
by Joanna Benoit
Monroe's Italian Fagioli Soup
(2) 15 oz cans cannellini beans, drained
(1) med-large onion, diced
(2-3) cloves of garlic, finely diced
(1-2) carrots, diced
(1) stalk of celery, diced
(1) bunch( head) of escarole, or swiss chard, roughly chopped
(1) 15 oz can whole peeled tomatoes in juice, roughly chopped
(1) can of diced tomatoes.
(1) tsp dried oregano
Grated Pecorino Romano cheese to taste
(3) tbs olive oil
1- Cook pasta to al dente in a large pot( about 8qt) in salted water ( 1/2 to 3/4 full)
- this water will become the soup broth so don't over salt it.
2)Drain off some water into a container leaving pasta covered in at least 1" of water.
3) Bring to boil and reduce to a simmer.
4) While the pasta is cooking, add olive oil to pan and saute the onions, celery, carrots, and garlic, and oregano
4) Add the tomatoes and their juices. Simmer together for about 10 mins and set aside
5)When the pasta is ready add the tomato mixture, the canned beans
6) Bring to a boil
7) Lower the temp and add the greens
8)simmer till the greens are wilted.
Serve the soup garnished with the grated cheese and a drizzle of olive oil.