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Wednesday, 09 January 2013 14:48

Miso, miso, miso!

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.

Published in The Cooking Edge
Thursday, 27 December 2012 19:12

A big pink thank you

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).

Published in The Cooking Edge
Thursday, 13 December 2012 14:26

Sweetheart scones

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.

Published in The Cooking Edge
Wednesday, 05 December 2012 16:18

Where, oh where have you gone?

It seems as though oysters have fallen by the wayside when it comes to the holidays now. There was a time when they were so inexpensive and loved that oyster stuffing was enjoyed on almost every New England table during Christmas, along with goose, fruit cake and homemade mincemeat pie. If I can't get you folks to try oyster stuffing this year (or any year), at least try this deliciously fragrant bisque that should win you over.

And by the way, how many of you start your meal off with soup? Anyone left out there? Would love to hear from everyone about what they munch on or prepare for appetizers during the holidays. In the meantime, try...

Published in The Cooking Edge
Thursday, 29 November 2012 00:19

Eggnog stuffed French toast

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!

Published in The Cooking Edge
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.

Published in The Cooking Edge
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.

Published in The Cooking Edge
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.

Published in The Cooking Edge
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.

Published in The Cooking Edge
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.

Published in The Cooking Edge
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