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Wednesday, 14 November 2012 23:56

Yanked candied 'yams'

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.

Thursday, 08 November 2012 00:53

What is a whitpot?

I have a recipe written by my grandmother, four times removed, for apple whitpot. Although I have followed her recipe and loved it, I created my own adaptation which I think you will enjoy immensely, especially with the holidays coming right up. Apparently my ancestor meant to write 'whitepot,' but she missed the 'e.' This rice dish is, or rather was, so-named because it was a recipe that was pure white, even when cooked in a pot. She mentioned that it was eaten while hot, with stewed wild strawberries and blackberries. In England, it is still eaten with fruit preserves mixed in for breakfast.

Thursday, 01 November 2012 12:44

Yanked tiramisu

Tiramisu is Italian for "make me happy." The jolt of coffee one perceives in this dessert is the reason for the nomenclature. It is fairly new to the cooking arena, since only about the late 60s has it been offered up to chefs to interpret on their own. And here is The Yankee Chef's interpretation.

Though I don't use ladyfingers in my presentation, I use something even better: molasses cookies. I think these go absolutely perfectly, flavor-wise, with the other levels of taste, and the texture is slightly firmer, with a little crispness from the edge of each cookie that helps tie everything in. Although I don't soak the cookies in coffee, I add the flavor of espresso and soak the cookies in another New England mainstay: rum!

Wednesday, 24 October 2012 23:04

More from abroad

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.

Wednesday, 10 October 2012 20:00

Don't hate me!

As all of you know, I hate having a laundry list of ingredients in a recipe, and hate even more a lengthy story behind its preparation. But I simply love this treat and I think you will too.

Wednesday, 03 October 2012 21:53

Aint you a brat!

I bet you all have heard (or said) that phrase before. But I'm talking about bratwurst sausages. The month of October instantly brings to mind Oktoberfest and the pungent, spicy, aromatic images of German sausages. Bratwurst, being one of my favorites, is meant to be fried or roasted, hence the German word 'braten.' But I think you will find the addition of this sausage in New England chowder is just about as good as it gets. Pop by Bean's in Bangor for their Oktoberfest and see what they have to offer; that's where I got the brat for this recipe. By all means, substitute kielbasa for this recipe, or even cheddarwurst or chorizo.

Wednesday, 26 September 2012 18:51

Which is better?

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.

Wednesday, 19 September 2012 21:02

What am I doing wrong?

I want to thank everyone for visiting my column online at The Maine Edge. I truly appreciate the number of views and the people who come up to me saying they read my article. It is hard to believe that more men tell me they read my column than women. But the query I still get is, "Jim, can you make simpler recipes?" I truly thought I "dumbed down" for my great friends at Dr. Mazzei's office enough to satisfy even the green thumbs of the kitchen. Now don't think for a minute it bothers me to do this. I sincerely enjoy giving recipes my readers enjoy and want. So thanks for starting that trend, Lynn (you know who you are).

Wednesday, 12 September 2012 16:27

When was the last time?

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.

Wednesday, 05 September 2012 16:19

Eric Furry and his books

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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