Food historians have been arguing about the origin of tarte Tatins almost since its origination. To The Yankee Chef, it is quite clear. At the Hotel Tatin in France, two sisters by the names of Stephanie and Caroline Tatin were both cooks and were in charge of the desserts on a daily basis. One day Stephanie was making an apple dessert and had forgotten about the apples she had been cooking in butter on the stovetop. Thinking she shouldn't waste them, she quickly added a rolled-out pastry dough on top of the apples and stuck the skillet in the oven, hoping to be able to at least create a caramelized apple pastry. When she removed the skillet from the oven and turned it out onto a plate, she was surprised that it wasn't burnt at all and that everything came out perfectly. Ever since that day, this upside-down tarte has been a best seller at the hotel, and with global appeal.
Readers of our publication need no introduction to the wonderful recipes that James Bailey has shared with us over the years. He’s written a column for The Maine Edge as well as many other local print and online publications for many years, creating a name and a following. Bailey also has an online blog and YouTube channel for those who wish to follow his cooking.
Lasagna pasta is great for going meatless. It is a comforting, rich and hearty meal with meat or without. Go ahead and experiment with other vegetables to your taste. Many of you may say that it isn't traditional lasagna without the rippled pasta, but you just may be surprised at the taste and texture of rippled, and I don't believe you will ever notice the difference.
I was going to give you the most popular food column of the year to end 2012, but I would much prefer to say a few words of gratitude. I have been so blessed the past year I can't even begin to thank everyone. It truly all started with my first column with The Maine Edge. Although I currently write for over a dozen newspapers, many in larger cities, it all started with this weekly because of the generosity of Katy and Mike. In fact, it is solely because of my column appearing every week in this paper that I was able to sign with Schiffer Publishing after being turned down by other publishers. For reasons I still haven't asked about, the owner was in England vacationing when he came across themaineedge.com and decided to give me a call from his hotel room one evening (bet his wife was none too happy about him working while on vacation).
I have tasted and made many dozens of different types of French toast in my years, but this recipe is truly the creamiest I have ever made. The taste of eggnog just goes so naturally with French toast. Get your palate ready for the holidays, and enjoy this through the year!
Well, I don't use yams here and there ain't no candy, but here is my version of this holiday classic. I have married salty with sweet again, forcing candied yams to "grow up" a bit.
Believe it or not, sweet potatoes are as American as apple pie. Native Americans were growing sweet potatoes when Columbus came in 1492, and by the 16th century sweet potatoes were being cultivated in the southern states, where they became a staple in the traditional cuisine.
I adore Vietnamese food, especially the zing in certain Vietnamese desserts. Most of the time, they add some freshly-minced or dried chili peppers in their sweets. Although once in a while I enjoy this tongue lashing, most of the time I want to taste the true fruit, unadulterated. So I took a popular Vietnamese banana fritter recipe and altered it many years ago. I forgot all about it until I was thumbing through my notes for my second cookbook and happened upon it. It is far simpler to prepare than the Vietnamese version and I believe much simpler and clean in flavor. If you want, by all means add some cinnamon to the batter, but remember, you will need to find Vietnamese cinnamon to be authentic (as well as about another dozen or so ingredients). So enjoy this treat two ways; see below.
A friend of mine who is also a chef posted some pictures of a traditional Italian antipasto. It was a Caprese salad, or insalta Caprese as rightfully heralded. Although a great salad in its own right, and admired worldwide, I think I have a better one, and it's not Italian.
While working for the Brountas family here in Maine many years ago, I developed the love of Greek cuisine. Among the outstanding ingredients they use is feta cheese. It may be an acquired taste for some, but my palate instantly admired the crumbly texture of this cheese, and I think you will too.
Do you even remember the last time you made your own donuts or fritters? There isn't anything like a gooey, warm Apple Fritter sticky with sugar to give you that warm, fulfilling feeling before you begin your day. Make these the night before if you want that little boost the next day. They truly are better the second day around.
Every once in a while I like taking time to honor a business or individual in the Bangor area who exemplifies what it means to be a Yankee. I am forgoing this week’s column on food to tell you about a man I have known for a number of years, a man my dad considered one of his closest friends. Eric Furry, owner of Pro Libris Bookstore in Bangor, has been in business since 1980. His is a small business, with books lined up wherever you aren't standing. It’s a monotone place, with his cat quietly perched in its own little spot. Sound inviting? Maybe not, but there’s something that keeps his clientele coming back year after year.
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