My Maine “Babymoon” and Dinner at Primo

For this month’s “Recipe Redux” we’re sharing stories of our favorite summer meal and our recipe for making it healthier. There is one meal that stood out for me above the others. It was at Primo in Rockland, Maine.

Chef Melissa Kelly calls a Primo a “Full Circle Kitchen,” the ultimate farm to table experience.

What started with a garden, a few hens and a couple of pigs has now become an evolution of food; an endless pursuit to accomplish more. Primo is much more than a restaurant, it is about love and respect for food. It is also about creativity. Produce is grown & harvested here and the animals are raised on the property. Nothing is wasted – everything has its place. It is a continuous cycle that occurs throughout the restaurant with, the kitchen, the animals and the gardens. The kitchen uses and savors every little piece. Seasonal to the moment, it is actually the farm and the garden that make the incredible ever-changing menu.

With two greenhouses and acres of produce, each day harvests: honey, fruits, veggies, eggs, edible flowers, micro-greens, fresh chicken and house cured & smoked meats. What is not grown at the restaurant comes from other local and sustainable farms that Chef Melissa Kelly and Price Kushner are proud to support.

While at Primo, I dined on grilled halibut that sat atop fried zucchini. Every bite we had there was delicious. But I could not stop thinking about the zucchini. For me, my favorite way of eating zucchini was with chocolate bread. I love veggies, but zucchini never really reached the top of my list. Lo and behold – all you need to do is FRY IT to make it taste better! Who knew?

If you know me well, you know I don’t think there is anything wrong with enjoying some fried foods once in awhile. But wouldn’t it be great if we could produce the “fried” taste by baking the zucchini? That’s what I set out to do.

Baked Zucchini “Fries” with Tzatziki

Yield: 4 servings, about 14 zucchini fries each and ¼ cup yogurt dip
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 20-25 minutes


2 medium large zucchinis, cut into fry shape (see instructions)
3 tablespoons Mazola® Corn Oil
1 cup panko breadcrumbs (Japanese style)
1/3 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
¼ teaspoon garlic powder
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper, ground
¼ teaspoon dried oregano
InstructionsPreheat oven to 425 degrees.  Line a baking sheet with foil and place a wire rack on top.Cut zucchini into “fries”. Slice the top and bottom off the zucchini. Quarter the zucchini by cutting in half length-wise and width wise.  Cut each quarter into ½ inch “fries”. Layer between paper towel, blot and set aside.In a pie plate, combine panko breadcrumbs, Parmesan cheese, garlic powder, cayenne pepper, and oregano. Toss with fingers to combine ingredients.Place the Mazola® Corn Oil into a small shallow dish.Brush batches of zucchini (about five at a time) with the Mazola® Corn Oil until lightly coated.

Transfer the zucchini to the pie plate and press into breadcrumb mixture. Use hands to coat. Gently toss between your hands to allow extra breadcrumbs to fall away.

Place the lightly breaded zucchini on the wire rack and baking sheet.

Repeat until all zucchini is coated.

Bake for 20-25 minutes or until the “fries” are golden brown and crisp.

Remove from oven and serve immediately with creamy yogurt dip.

Alternative dip idea: ¼ cup marinara sauce

Yield: 4 servings, about ¼ cup yogurt dip per serving
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Chill Time: 0-20 minutes

Ingredients – list in order they are used

¾ cup plain fat free Greek yogurt
¼ cup English cucumber, grated and peeled
1 tablespoon chopped fresh dill
2 teaspoons red wine vinegar
¼ teaspoon garlic powder
InstructionsIn a medium bowl, combine Greek yogurt, grated cucumber, dill, red wine vinegar, and garlic powder.Stir to combine.Serve immediately or refrigerate until needed.

Visit Maine for Beautiful Nature and Fresh Air

We went to Maine to hopefully get a break from the heat and humidity of D.C. in August. We were celebrating 7 years of marriage and anticipating the arrival of our first baby due Thanksgiving — or sometime around November 22nd.

While it was still hot in Maine, we definitely enjoyed the natural surroundings, hiking, and the peace. We had plenty of time to talk about our future as parents. It was perfect for us.

Here are a few pics that sum up our three short days in Maine

Sailing and learning all about lobstering.

Relaxing at Island View Inn by the sea

Scritchy resting at Pebble Beach after a long hike

Hiking on Monehegan island – population 78!

Kinda what Maine is Known For…

More “Vacation Memories” Posts!
Live vicariously through these other recipe redux posters and enjoy their summer vacays too!

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