Greetings everybody, Frank Giglio here. For those of you who don’t know, I wrote many of the recipes for the recently released Clean Eats cookbook and for the last few years, have been creating recipes for the weekly newsletter. Cooking is a major part of my life and I enjoy being able to share culinary inspiration with my family, friends, and the Clean community.
I reside along the midcoast of Maine with my wife Camille and my soon to be 3 year old son Wilder. We live off-the-grid on 26 acres of mixed forest and open space. With the exception of our telephone line, we are detached from the grid, sourcing all our “power” from the sun. We share our land with our pup Jasmine, Maine coon Maitake, 6 sheep, 19 chickens, 3 ducks, and all the wild creatures who come through the land from time to time.
Striving to live a life of self sufficiency requires a lot of dedication and hard work. We are coming out of one of the toughest winters in memory and the depths of winter certainly took its toll on us at times. Working from home allows our schedules to constantly change, which usually means that most weekdays are free for all of sorts. Camille is the CCO for a Maine based company called SurThrival. During the week, she is usually tucked away in the office while I watch over Wilder, work on projects, and cook my way through the day.
Now that spring is here, I look forward to several feet of snow finally melting and the beginning of the growing season. Our greenhouse is now quickly filling up with several trays of seed sown soil that will turn into nutrient rich foods months down the road.
Although we are off to a late start, maple syrup season is happening, with about a dozen trees currently being tapped to catch the nutritious, subtly sweet sap that is what we like to call, the coconut water of the north. With the sap, I love to make hydrating beverages, some sort of like a lemonade, and others cooked down with medicinal mushrooms like chaga and vanilla bean. The final drink is so delicious!
Since my son started walking, routines have been few and far between. Each day comes with different to-do lists and having my day go exactly as planned is not always that easy. Below is a little insight into my daily life.
Up around 6am and head downstairs to get a little quiet time before the rest of the family wakes up. I rekindle the fire, put on Gentle Spirit by Johnathan Wilson, and do a little stretching while my chaga tea heats up. It’s chilly, but soon the wood stove is cranking and taking the morning chill out of the house.
Once the tea comes to a boil, I begin the coffee making process. We are big fans of coffee and take the process pretty seriously. About every two weeks, I roast green coffee beans in our popcorn maker. The smell is slightly off-putting but we love the freshness of roasting our own, plus we can be more aware of just how long the roasted coffee beans have been sitting around. Camille drinks her coffee with raw cream from our Amish neighbors, and I blend mine with raw butter and coconut oil. Both of us can only drink our coffee with stevia.
Wilder is usually up by now so it’s time to make him breakfast. Scrambled eggs from our chickens, berry smoothies, or yogurt with granola are just a few of his favorite breakfast options. Wilder quickly took a liking to the gluten-free pancake recipes which I created for Clean Eats, he likes his plain with no toppings!
Camille and I chat briefly as we sip coffee and fire up the computers. I answer any urgent messages then I am off to take care of the animals. By now my dog Jasmine is excited to head outdoors so we both stroll along the driveway and head out to the chicken coop. Fresh water is poured into proper bins, eggs are collected and the animals are fed. Brosif, our ram, always requires a little loving, so I reach down, give him a big hug and a good scratch behind the ears. He’s my favorite!
I’ve got a catering gig on Saturday, so its off to the farmer’s market in Belfast, Maine. Once there I chat with some of my favorite farmers, which is always a lot of fun and usually leads to spending over an hour there before packing the car and heading over to my local co-op to pick up the last remaining items on my shopping list.
With a car loaded with groceries, I drive over to the MOFGA (Maine Organic Farmer’s and Gardener’s Association) kitchen to drop off my ingredients and begin prep for their luncheon the next day. Even in late March, I am able to create a menu that will utilize over 80% Maine grown and raised food. As a chef, I am blessed to have sourced amazing resources.
For the entree, I prepare a huge pot of turkey stew. Our friends and neighbors pasture raise turkey and chicken. Pastured poultry is so much more enjoyable, you can really tell the difference. I breakdown the whole birds then start a large pot of stock using the carcasses. To a large pot I add bay leaf, vegetable scraps, dried kelp and dried mushrooms. After simmering for nearly 4 hours, the earthy broth is ready to be the base of the stew. I slow roast the breasts which will get chopped and added to the stew towards the end. Chopped veggies, mushrooms, and root vegetables combine with the thighs and simmer slowly in the flavorful broth. Once the breast meat goes in I add lots of fresh herbs like sage, thyme, and parsley. Soups and stews like this I can eat for days and lucky for us, we had plenty of leftovers after the event.
Once my prep is done, I head home to hang with the family. Gotta wake up early again!
My alarm rings much too early, but up and out of bed to start another busy day. I head downstairs, chug a liter of spring water, then jump into my beyond dirty Carharts, Muck boots, and wool jacket. After feeding and watering the animals I get back in the house, make a quick smoothie then begin my self care routine. First I skin brush then hop into the shower, do my thing, then finish with a cold rinse, invigorating!
I dry off then oil myself up with Living Libations Best Skin Ever. Their products are the best and the only ones I put on my skin! I quickly dress then pack the car, get the family ready then head back to the MOFGA kitchen to get lunch ready for about 45 hungry farmers.
After lunch is served we once again load up the car, then head back to the house to unwind and enjoy the rest of the afternoon. After a low egg producing winter, our chickens and ducks are back to providing us with a dozen eggs a day, so I turn to the trusty frittata to utilize our bounty. First I sauté some onions in my favorite Griswald cast iron pan, followed by some garlic and local spinach. Once wilted, I pour in 12 whisked eggs and some of my homemade BBQ seasonings. I pop the pan directly into the oven and give it about 20 minutes to set up. No frittata would be complete without my homemade ketchup.
After dinner Camille makes a big bowl of heirloom popcorn topped with coconut oil and my spirulina seasonings, then we sit next to the fire and watch a movie while Wilder jumps on us with pure joy! Like always, I fall asleep and wake about 20 minutes after the movie is over.
An exciting day for me since, for a change, I took a class instead of leading a class. I went to a local shop to participate in a miso making class! I love fermentation, so this was a great opportunity to learn and incorporate another traditional fermentation process.
After class, I head home, take care of a few projects then set myself up for the upcoming week. Soak beans for soup, pull out some bones for chicken stock, and make a list of possible recipes to try out. By now, I’m spent and spend the rest of my weekend chillin' with the family!
So that’s a few days in the life of a Maine Man, hope you enjoyed a little bit of My Way.
Check out more of Frank's incredible clean recipes in the Clean Eats Cookbook.