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Thursday, 21 June 2012 07:41


Guess what time of year it is everyone? I wait for strawberry season every year now for ... years. Although the fresh strawberries you can get in the supermarket are adequate, that's their downfall as well: mere adequacy. I want to taste fruit that is local, just-picked and still warm from the sun it grows under.

My kids look forward to them as well. For over 10 years, I hand-picked and sold these gems at my farm stand, with my children right alongside me. They earned extra money picking and selling, learning important lessons along the way. They learned the hard way when they wanted something special at the store, but they had eaten five out of the eight quarts they picked - they were going to have to settle for something else. And no, I didn't cave in! But I always made sure they had their fill of strawberries both in the field and at home. It worked. After the third or fourth day, they wanted nothing more to do with strawberries. I learned a lesson as well: Not only didn't they want to eat any more strawberries, they didn't want to help pick anymore either. Tough love bit me right in the strawberry patch.

Thursday, 14 June 2012 11:24

Happy Father's Day to me

As anyone will tell you, I abhor talking about myself. But this week's article is about The Yankee Chef. I just learned that the cover of my first book, 'The Yankee Chef,' can be viewed (along with the book description) online at Just put 'The Yankee Chef' in the search bar to your left at this site and you will see a miniature picture of my book pop up. Click on the book cover and you will see some info on the book itself along with a larger image of the jacket. Although it says the book won't be available until January of 2013, Schiffer Publishing has a two month buffer, so it will be ready to order at the beginning of November. I am thrilled, and I think my father would be as well. If it wasn't for him, I certainly would not have had the ambition and tenacity it took to "peddle my wares" from publisher to publisher.

Now I would love to thank a very special outfit for their role in me being so handsome in my pink chef's coat. (Hey, Father's Day is coming up - I'm entitled) Unifirst is my first sponsor and I am proud to call Tracy a friend. Everyone at the Bangor office was fantastic to deal with, and Unifirst presented me with two, top-of-the-line chef's coats. One is my trademark pink coat, while the other is a beautiful black color. They did the embroidery as well. I can't say enough about them. That's why I give them a plug every chance I get on my YouTube videos.

Wednesday, 06 June 2012 16:41

Simply Caribbean

The headline is an oxymoron, obviously. June is National Caribbean-American Heritage Month, and Caribbean cuisine is so far removed from what we are used to up here in the Northeast, it would take my whole article just to give you the ingredients and preparation for one dish.

Coconut is the most repeated item in Caribbean cooking, with coconut milk leading the pack. But don't confuse coconut milk with what you find in the middle of a coconut. It is the extraction of coconut oil and flavor into milk. To make it at home is simple. In a large bowl, place 4 c. grated coconut. Bring 2 c. milk to a scald on the stove, remove and pour over the coconut. Let it sit for 30 minutes. Strain the coconut mixture through a strainer, reserving the liquid. If you would like, remove the strained coconut into a muslin or cheese cloth and squeeze even more coconut flavor. Store this coconut milk in the refrigerator until cool. The cream will rise to the top, so before transferring this milk into an air-tight container, whisk well. That's it!

Wednesday, 30 May 2012 16:01

Vinegar the alternative cleaner?!?

In March of 2012, the Silent Springs Institute in Massachusetts released a "scientific study" declaring that vinegar be recommended as an "alternative cleaner." We Yankees have been using vinegar as a cleaner in hundreds of different ways for centuries. Well, before I get my gander up about how foolishly institutes spend their money or how foolish institutes are, let me give you some other ideas about how you can use vinegar and its namesake Vinaigrette - and how easy it is to make your own at home. You won't find these highly-addictive Vinaigrettes on your store shelves.

Friday, 25 May 2012 08:23

Not your momma's pesto

For the third time so far, summer has peeked its inviting forehead from the sides of the clouds. And every time it does, I get the urge to cook outdoors, eat outdoors or enjoying recipes that make me feel good, much as the radiance of the sun. Pesto just happens to be my springtime fling. It is great used as a dip for crusty French bread, mixed in with a cold pasta salad, tossed with just cooked pasta or served as the following recipe suggests. Basil pesto is a classic recipe and delicious in its own right. But when you add a spring-time taste, such as asparagus, it transforms this clean taste into something that you will remember and want to make numerous times. Spice this recipe up a bit with a dash or two of hot pepper sauce, a minced jalapeno pepper, a teaspoon of ground mustard or even some flavored oils.

Wednesday, 16 May 2012 18:00

Flavored butters

I remember many years ago I wanted to start my own line of flavored butters, but I never followed through with it. Why? Because one, I never got off my butt to do it and two, it is so simple to make it at home. With just a few ingredients, you can have a pat of flavored butter melting over freshly-cooked vegetables. Meat and seafood are impressive as are breads, rolls and waffles with the addition of your own flavored butters. Here are just a few I would like to share with you.

Start with 4 oz. unsalted butter or margarine at room temperature. Put the butter in a mixing bowl and beat with a wooden spoon or electric mixer till soft. Add the flavoring and season with salt and pepper before beating to a soft, whipped texture. Transfer to a piece of waxed paper or film wrap, shape into a tight roll and refrigerate until firm. When ready, just take out and slice into pats.

Wednesday, 09 May 2012 14:12

The second Yankee Chef

My father, Jack Bailey, was the second Yankee Chef (with his father being the first), and his birthday is May 10. He would have been 74 years of age this year. I remember well the types of food he adored, and one of them was pork chops. Didn't matter how they were cooked, bone-in pork chops were his favorite. He also enjoyed any recipe that screamed New England, using ingredients such as blueberries, molasses, fiddleheads, maple syrup and apple cider. Because his salt intake was limited, he used pepper extensively on his chops and steaks, which he always loved anyway. He also had an affinity for sweet potatoes and yams. Dad would smother every meat he cooked with grilled onions, a habit I proudly continue. Dad would have thoroughly enjoyed this week's recipe, created with him in mind, because I use bone-in chops along with apple cider and a few fixin's he would have loved. I think you will love it too.

Wednesday, 02 May 2012 22:44

Something old, something new

While I was going through my cupboards the other day, I noticed I still had some molasses hidden behind that cylindrical box of oatmeal that's been up there just as long.(You know what I'm talking about, admit it). Although I knew that it would still be good, even after two years, I glanced it over nonetheless. Yup! Still good. Now before you start chastising me, remember that molasses, along with honey, stays edible for so long because of its sugar content. The sucrose inhibits bacterial growth. I don't want to tell everyone to be as cheap as I am, but I can't help it, it's the Yankee in me. Now what to do with it...? Got it! One of the messiest, delectable and comforting summer foods imaginable: pulled pork. Never heard of a pulled pork recipe using molasses? Then why don't we just call it -

Thursday, 26 April 2012 12:31

Must-haves in the kitchen

Recently I posted a video on YouTube dealing with gravies. Since then I have received so many requests for a list of spices and herbs that you should keep in your kitchen, I made another video dealing with just that. This week's article will address that as well. I think because so many people are marinating steaks and chicken, they want to know what to keep on hand. So here is my list - not only for this summer's grilling and marinades, but for the holidays as well.

Ground cumin - Native to the Mediterranean, this is the second most popular spice (behind pepper) in the world. Most commonly used in the cuisines of Brazil, Texas and Mexico.

Basil - Commonly known for Italian cuisine, but very popular in Asian cooking as well. Oddly absent in India, where it originated.

Cinnamon - Used in both sweet and savory dishes, this pungent yet sweet spice was what Moses was commanded to put in anointing water, believe it or not.

Wednesday, 18 April 2012 16:19

The food flipper

I stopped in Perkin's Appliance a couple of days ago to get a part for my washing machine (did I ever tell you I am a wiz at home repair? Good, 'cause I'm not) and noticed a small display at the register. Now just to give you yet another plug for a great business in the area, I gotta tell ya that it isn't often you find genuinely nice people who want to help you, the buyer, just out of the kindness of their hearts. If you think about it, it doesn't cost a penny for kindness. I brought the whole agitator in with me because I didn't dare to take any of it apart to get at a little "dog" to replace. The man at Perkin's was not only happy to help me replace the part, it was almost a given that he do so, just because I gave him my business. That, my friends, is the Yankee way. Anyway. this display had an odd looking "Food Flipper" that I had never seen before, hanging. Not only does it come in a short length (which is over a foot long), but long as well. The name is Super Stick and it is also made for left- or right-handed outdoor man cooking. You can either pop on over to Perkins to buy your own or order it through the Nickerson family at 207-236-7125. I tried it and, although another business carries their own rendition at a higher price and imported from another state, these are made locally and I will never go without one of these gems again. It isn't so good on burger or fish, but for steaks and chicken cooking on your grill, it can't be beat.

I mentioned man cooking. Of course it is universally known that the outdoor grill belongs to the man. I have done many articles for the female populace, so this week let's put the man behind the grill, pick up your Food Flipper and start grilling.

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