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The Cooking Edge (75)

Wednesday, 13 February 2013 15:22

A midwestern fried rice

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Who among us doesn't enjoy fried rice? Be it pork, chicken, shrimp or vegetarian fried rice, I have enjoyed it as a meal at lunchtime all by itself. As odd as it sounds, fried rice here on the East coast differs from that in the Midwest. For some reason, Asian restaurants along the Atlantic serve rice much darker than that in the Dakota, Nebraska and Minnesota region. They are more apt to add "lite" soy sauce, which gives it a lighter appearance. Good idea. Who could use a little less salt in their diet but keep the flavor? I could!

Wednesday, 06 February 2013 15:33

Another Yankee cook

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My very good friend, Heather Atwood, is a food columnist for the Gloucester Times in Massachusetts and a great cook. She has a popular website called Food for Thought filled with simple recipes that have a bit of flair. One such dish caught my eye and upon giving her a call, she told me she would be delighted if I shared with my readers up here in Maine. This pork stew is easy to prepare, with a nice tangy sauce that matches perfectly with pork. 

Wednesday, 30 January 2013 16:08

Cantuccini, correctly!

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Now everyone and their mother will be telling me that this recipe is biscotti but, being a stubborn, uncooperative Yankee, I beg to argue. If you were to visit central Italy, you would most often find cantuccinis with your cafe della casa, not biscottis. What is the difference, you say? Well, I'll tell ya. Even though all biscottis should truly be called cantuccinis, it is the use of an acid (or yeast) that designates it so. I use lemon juice in this recipe, which helps make them less dry.

Wednesday, 23 January 2013 16:28

Wing day is Sunday

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Many of us get together with friends and family every Sunday to watch a game. One of the biggest parts of that great feeling is the food (and of course the beer). Football food should be easy to prepare, easy to serve, carefree and easy to eat. Plop these wings in the oven and wait 'til the first commercial before turning them and the next commercial for removing them. Instead of ordering out, make a pile of these Asian-inspired wings for your get together. Wings really are the ultimate sports food, regardless of their style. Marinated in lime, ginger, soy sauce and a bit of maple syrup, these wings have a wonderful citrus flavor with just a hint of spice from the chili sauce.

Wednesday, 16 January 2013 14:16

Want it Hot or Cold?

Written by Tim Bissell

What am I doing giving you a cold soup recipe in cold weather? Simply because you don't have to prepare it cold. It is just as delicious when you omit the ricotta and add 2 cups light or heavy cream and gently warm it over low heat, topped with a few flavored croutons.

Gazpacho is traditionally made never touching heat. A variety of vegetables are chopped then processed in a blender until fairly smooth and then served with stale bread. Although I find this satisfactory, it's not the texture I admire completely. I find that cooking a portion of the ingredients makes for a smoother and more flavored meal, if you can call it that. A great lunch though. I live this soup with a hot, grilled vegetable sandwich. Although neither contains meat, it truly is satisfying.

Wednesday, 09 January 2013 14:48

Miso, miso, miso!

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I know, I know. Sad pun on Jan Brady's cry, "Marcia, Marcia, Marcia!" - and boy it shows my age, doesn't it? Regardless, I love anything to do with miso, and from your first taste on, I think you will too. Miso is a spice that is fermented rice, barley and/or soy beans. It is something like soy sauce but much deeper in flavor. It has been gaining popularity everywhere since Chef Morimoto has been gracing the networks. To start you out gently, though, here is a great recipe using miso paste. I toned it down a little with hints of ginger and brown sugar. I think you will enjoy this dish with pickled ginger and plain rice.

Thursday, 03 January 2013 09:31

With or without ripples

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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.

Thursday, 27 December 2012 19:12

A big pink thank you

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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 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).

Thursday, 20 December 2012 12:53

Try a quince

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Quince looks like a cross between an apple and a pear. If you have ever seen old-time recipes for jams and jellies, you will see at the onset that quince jelly was prepared more than any other. That's because quince is very high in pectin and our 'foremothers" didn't need a thickening agent to "put up" jars of this aromatic fruit. If you have ever cooked with quince, or plan on it, you will notice that if you cook it long enough either in the oven or on the stove top, the flesh turns red. Don't worry, it is just a natural cycle and does not ruin the taste. FYI, do you know what 'marmalade' really means? As my father always told me, look it up! In the meantime, enjoy my version of a baked stuffed apple. A little different but oh so sticky!

Thursday, 13 December 2012 14:26

Sweetheart scones

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As many of you already know, I am a strong advocate for breast cancer awareness, even more so during the holidays. Everybody is somebody's sweetheart, and that mantra holds true to those who have passed because of this terrible condition. I have certain ways I remember the loved ones who are still with us, and certain ways I remember the sweethearts who have passed. By not only dedicating even a fraction of my life and avocation to the cause and cure, I can feel the echoed sentiment when I quietly call my mother "Sweetheart" while preparing and enjoying these sweet "dedications" that are as pink as the lips that once kissed me good morning and good night.

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