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Wednesday, 29 August 2012 15:25

Is it apple season yet?

It happened one day when my daughter wanted a candied apple at the fair. I bought her one. Five minutes later, after walking around the fairgrounds, she said, "Here, Dad, I'm done!" It was the same red, shiny orb I had just bought her, except with an abundance of gnaw marks up one side and down the other. Although a 10 year old with strong teeth, she couldn't penetrate the sweet, hardened glaze. After fretting and fuming to myself for wasted money, I decided to take a stab at it. She was right! Hard as nails, just the way I remembered it as a kid, but lacking one prized, distinctive quality: the bite. I mean the bite of real candied apple. You remember, you get that sweetly hot taste that made this confection true from the melted cinnamon candies that made the thought of a chipped tooth irrelevant. Yup, another shortcut by someone who obviously is out for the money rather than sticking with tradition.

Now The Yankee Chef is all about saving money, but not at the expense of keeping a tradition alive and allowing my children enjoy what we did growing up. So for posterity's sake, here's how to make a great, hard, shiny, sweet, hot, mouth-watering...

Wednesday, 22 August 2012 22:42

Skinny! Skinny! Skinny!

I was watching a program the other day about how people perceive these rail thin models as beautiful. Now, I have to be politically and morally correct here, so instead of demeaning anyone who chooses to be rail thin for modeling purposes, let me just say one thing. They sure didn't look like that when I was a kid (well, besides Ziggy, Iggy, Twiggy or Figgy - whatever that Swedish models name was). But regardless of your intent, I do believe we should balance our food intake with much more fruits and vegetables. I am a staunch advocate of all things fruit and vegetables, as well as substituting low-fat products for full-fat items. For example, the recipe below. You will not taste any difference at all if you chose to use full fat ingredients rather than those listed. With all this said, try...

Wednesday, 15 August 2012 16:07

Mo' money mo' money mo' money

I purchased a couple of pounds of Alaskan king crab legs a while back and thoroughly enjoyed them just dipped in butter. I left two legs uneaten and refrigerated them. Two days later, I really wanted crab again, but in a different culinary theme - something quick and filling. One of my favorite dishes is Alfredo, so I thought, why not combine the two? Once it was prepared, I didn't even want to take the time to take a picture of it. I enjoyed every morsel with no bread left over, having used it to sop up Alfredo sauce (since I can't lick my bowls anymore).

The following week, spending even more money on seafood, I purchased a pound of shrimp and relived my night of briny delight. And this is what I made. If you enjoy it half as much as I did, you are in for a hearty, satisfying meal.

Wednesday, 08 August 2012 21:45

I just had to do it

Here it is almost the middle of summer, and I am enjoying a dish that should be cooked in the snappy air of winter. Having taken the kids to the fair, all I could smell was sausages, simmering inside that crispy, grilled casing and the aroma of spices just beckoning me. I didn't end up getting a sausage for the first time in eons, but I did bring my appetite for sausages home with me. It wasn't terribly hot out so I ran to Bean's and got some chicken sausage, stopped at the store and picked up the rest, and I was in my glory making

Wednesday, 01 August 2012 16:52

Fix it, forget it and fall asleep

I just so happen to know quite a bit about French toast. Being a genealogist, I traced my line back many many centuries. While doing so, I researched food during each century wherever my ancestors happened to have been living at the time. Looking at my notes, I found that French toast (as we know it today, using eggs) wasn't mentioned in any text until the early 14th century. This was in French Normandy, where it was referred to as tostees dorees. Guillaume Tirel, the chief cook of King Charles V of France, wrote that you were to toast bread first, then glaze it with egg yolks and sugar. Put them in hot grease, sprinkle with sugar and cook until done. This recipe is far more delightfully tasty, and you make it at night, go to bed and wake up, only to pop it in the oven.

Wednesday, 25 July 2012 16:57

The blessing of the fleet

A tradition of over 35 years, Rhode Island has honored its coastline laborers with a weekend-long event including a road race, seafood festival and diverse festivities on the weekend of July 28. Held in Galilee, it coincides with another fervently held tradition: drinking coffee milk. You think we Mainers are stubborn about how our lobster and chowder should be enjoyed? Ha! Rhode Islanders have been steadfast in how they make their coffee milk. Many believe that only Eclipse syrup should be used, while others think that Autocrat Coffee syrup is the only way to go, even though Autocrat bought out Eclipse in 1991. In 1993, the state senate even approved coffee milk as the official state drink of Rhode Island.

Wednesday, 18 July 2012 16:34

Disney's Pixar and The Yankee Chef?!

The connection? We were all proud of W.A. Bean of Bangor for the opportunity to be contracted to provide Wolfgang Puck with Haggis for the premiere of the movie 'Brave.' My family has been buying from W.A. Bean for over 80 years, with the first Yankee Chef, Samuel Bailey. While working at the Bangor House in the 20s and 30s, he bought meat and such from Bean's, and the second Yankee Chef did the same from the 60s until his death in 2001.

I, the third Yankee Chef, have bought from Bean's over the years as well. The connection, however, is while Pixar contracted with W.A. Bean's, I have just been told that this local, dynamic company will be sponsoring me and my culinary projects. I know my grandfather and father would be delighted at the fact that the Yankee Chef's legacy and Bean legacy will be united yet again, going on to the century mark. I am proud to call David Bean a friend first, sponsor second. So without gabbing yet again, let me take one of Bean's Meats that you can purchase at their retail shop on the Bomarc Road and give you a sample of just what you can do with their fresh sausage.

Wednesday, 11 July 2012 13:14

Boy did I screw up!

I received more emails on this topic than any other column since my debut in The Maine Edge. Everyone and their mother asked me why I didn't include the Coney dog. Even the eminent Dr. Mazzei of Bangor, for whom I have great admiration, spoke to me like my father would have. With a laugh and a hearty reminder, he bellowed, "Where's the Detroit dog, Jim ?" It was funny because his assistant, "Cutty" - another great friend - told me he tried to get in my room before the doctor to forewarn me but he couldn't make it. Well I heard you, Dr. Mazzei, loud and clear along with everyone else. Can I tell a little about it first though?

Let me explain the difference between the Coney and Detroit dogs to begin with. While Coney Island may be the birthplace of the hot dog, it is not the origination of the Coney dog, which uses a special type of beef and pork hot dog in a natural casing. The 'chili' originally was a mixture of beef hearts, cinnamon, nutmeg, bacon and olives - with no beans.

Tuesday, 03 July 2012 16:11

Finger lickin'

My friend Gail vanWart's family has owned Peaked Mountain Farm in Dedham for about 150 years. She is an author and poet and very knowledgeable about wild blueberries, blueberry recipes, blueberry cultivation...heck, everything blueberry. Having talked to her this past week, she has me salivating for her crop of MOFGA wild blueberries. But like strawberries, we have to wait for the perfect time. In the meantime, I am going to whet my (and hopefully your) taste buds for blueberries with the following finger-lickin' chicken and something to top it off with.

Thursday, 28 June 2012 07:20

Dressed up dogs

A red snapper with mustard? Nothing wrong with that, but sometimes some people crave a bit more refinement than the classic red hot provides, especially when they see what the upscale restaurants and eateries are serving during the summer season. Gourmet dogs are poised to become a national (even an international) phenom, so here are a few of what everyone else is eating, supposedly.

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