Holiday Recipes from the Mount Desert 365 Team

Happy Holidays from Kathy, Mollie, and Eliza! Here are some festive recipes that have brought our families joy during this time of year.

George's Potatoes: Kathy Miller

I’m of Irish descent, and I fit the stereotype perfectly…I love potatoes. They are the perfect food for versatility of taste and range of ability in preparing them. Think of a simple boiled potato or au gratin, or even French Fries and the array of flavors they come in these days. Now, living in Maine, potatoes reign supreme – especially if you get the real deal: huge potatoes with the dirt still on to keep them fresher. One such potato can be the side dish for two to three of us at dinner.

Mashed potatoes are not my favorite, however. As a kid we had them a lot, and I spent a lot of time peeling potatoes. I think we had them a lot because my mother didn’t have them often when she was a kid, so mashed became her favorite, and then her default. Also, you could have your children peel and prepare them! My kids rarely had them because I’d had enough of them before they were born. That changed though a decade or more ago when I discovered a new kind of mashed potato, a mixture of sweet and russet.

My husband and I were out to celebrate our anniversary at George’s Restaurant in Bar Harbor, a wonderful place tucked in a home behind the First National Bank, sadly long gone. Whatever main meat course I had ordered came with a side of orange-colored mashed potatoes, and they were great! In something of a joke, I told the waiter how wonderful they were, and asked if they would share the recipe? He made no comment and walked away. At first, I thought it was a little rude, but the next time he came by, he slipped a piece of paper on the table without comment and kept on going. There were the ingredients, written by hand, no measurements, just commentary – mostly (lots of). So, George’s Potatoes have become a staple for special occasions at our home. I hope you enjoy them as much as we do.

Whiskey Punch: Mollie Seyffer

Peel lemons with a vegetable peeler, getting as little of the white pith with the peels as possible (3-4 lemons per 750mL of whiskey), and put the peelings into a large bowl. Gently muddle around 3-5 oz of sugar into the lemons (1/2 cup, give or take). Demerara sugar lends the best flavor, but Sugar in the Raw works too.

Let the sugar and peels sit for at least 2 hours and up to 5. The dry sugar will leach out the oils in the lemon peels. Add around 5-8 oz boiling hot water to this mixture and dissolve all the sugar. Pour the bottle of whiskey into the bowl. Add water as you think necessary (generally around a quart per 750mL of whiskey). Chill.

This recipe can be tweaked as you choose. For example, instead of adding the final water, you can chill everything first and then add soda. Or for more of a “punch”, sparkling wine. You can mix and match liquors, even blending them (cognac & rum, gin & tequila, etc). My personal favorite – instead of dissolving the sugar in hot water, make a strong tea (black tea if whiskey, green tea if gin, etc.) and use that.

A quick note on the whiskey- no need to get fancy. Look for a nice smooth, strong bourbon or rye, such as Rittenhouse or Old Grand-Dad 100, which is generally available for under $30/bottle. If you decide to add bubbles, don’t splurge on anything extra special. A $7-10 bottle of Cava works perfectly.

*Pro-tip – Freeze a bowl full of water as an ice block for the punch. It looks nice, but more importantly, melts slower than cubes and the punch punches longer.

Mom's/Gram's Scallop Stew: Eliza Worrick

Christmas Eve with my grandparents always meant a pot of my grandmother Marguerite Bryant’s scallop stew simmering on the stove. This simple recipe traveled from her kitchen in Seal Harbor to my mom’s in Bar Harbor, so I love that the card has both their handwriting on it.