Thursday, December 14, 2017

3 Fools

Dessert Fools have been around so long that it is difficult to pin down the origin date. Here is a recipe from 1658, straight from The Compleat Cook. 

"Take your Gooseberries, and put them in a Silver or Earthen Pot, and set it in a Skillet of boyling Water, and when they are coddled enough strain them, then make them hot again, when they are scalding hot, beat them very well with a good piece of fresh butter, Rose-water and Sugar, and put in the yolke of two or three Eggs; you may put Rose-water into them, and so stir it altogether, and serve it to the Table when it is cold."

Over time, using any sweetened custard for this superb "pudding" has been omitted for the simpler whipped cream. In fact, most of today's Fool recipes are simply mashed berries that have been mixed with whipped cream. To me, that may make for a quick fix in the summer, but to truly enjoy this classic takes just a tad extra effort, especially during the Holidays when people put their best, and most creative, foot forward to please themselves and others around them.
I am giving you 3 distinctly different Fool recipes. Notice I refrain from using entirely whipped cream in these recipes. I opt, instead, to give it a little "kick in the pants". If desired, substitute more whipped cream to any of these recipes. 


Tart Raspberry Fool


You are going to be very pleasantly surprised at the sweet tartness this Holiday dessert provides. All the flavors balance out perfectly and I have a funny feeling you will be doubling, tripling or even quadrupling this recipe to feed the masses this year as they gather around your table.


1(12-ounce)bag frozen raspberries(2 1/2 cups)
1 cup frozen, white grapefruit juice concentrate, thawed
1/2 cup sugar
1(1-ounce)envelope unflavored gelatin
1(8-ounce)container plain yogurt, whisked and divided
3 cups whipped topping, divided


Combine raspberries, grapefruit juice concentrate and sugar in a medium saucepan over medium heat, bringing to a boil. Once boiling, and with a potato masher or sturdy fork, mash raspberries just a couple times, leaving them chunky. Sprinkle gelatin over the top and continue cooking without stirring for 1 minute.

Remove from heat and transfer to bowl to chill in refrigerator, uncovered, for 30 minutes.
When ready, whisk half the yogurt with half the whipped topping until well combined in a large bowl. Fold in cooled(it will still be warm)raspberry mixture, folding until desired streaks are visible or fold in entirely.

Divide among 4 serving dishes, loosely cover with film wrap and chill at least 3 hours. When ready to serve, blend the remainder of yogurt with remainder of whipped topping and ladle over individual servings of Fool.




Sweet and Tangy Blueberry Fool

Mousse-like but much softer. An original recipe for this New England dessert goes all the way back to 15th century England, when it was made with crushed berries mixed with eggs and a sweetener, creating a berry-laden custard. It was made in this way even well into 19th century New England before being altered using whipped cream instead of custard. I think you will find this version less sweet and eggy, but "super delicious" as my kids say! Refer to note at the end for 2 other Fool recipes, one of which is the classic preparation.



1(12-ounce)bag frozen blueberries(2 1/2 cups)
1/4 cup corn syrup
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
Pinch dried ginger or allspice
1(1-ounce)envelope unflavored gelatin
1/2(8-ounce)container creme fraiche
1 1/2 cups whipped topping
Crushed gingersnaps or your favorite crisp Holiday cookies


Make blueberry filling by combining frozen blueberries, corn syrup, lemon juice and spices in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Bring to boil until blueberries are thawed. Once boiling, and with a potato masher or sturdy fork, mash the blueberries just a couple times, leaving them very chunky. Sprinkle gelatin over the top and continue cooking without stirring for 1 minute.

Remove from heat and transfer to bowl to chill in refrigerator, uncovered, for 30 minutes.

When ready, whisk creme fraiche and whipped topping until well combined in a large bowl. Fold in cooled(it will still be warm)blueberry mixture, folding until desired streaks are visible or fold in entirely.

Divide among 4 serving dishes, loosely cover with film wrap and chill at least 3 hours before serving with crushed cookies over the top.

NOTE: Follow this link for a great Raspberry Fool and to prepare this old time dessert the way it was intended, follow this link, English Cranberry Fool with Baked Meringue.


Ye Olde Cranberry Fool
Here is a Fool recipe that is truly classic....well, for the most part. I use the classic preparation for the overall texture, but Yanked it using canned cranberry sauce. For those of you who wish to prepare it using fresh cranberries, simply see asterisk. Regardless of how you make it, it is delightfully different and perfect for your table this season.

1(14-ounce)can whole-berry cranberry sauce *
2 cups milk
1/2 teaspoon allspice or cinnamon
1 cup sugar, divided
2 tablespoons cornstarch
4 eggs, separated
1 teaspoon vanilla
Nonstick cooking spray


Empty cranberry sauce into a bowl and stir until it is well broken up. Strain any liquid from it and discard, set aside cranberry sauce. Place milk, egg yolks, 1/2 cup sugar, cornstarch and allspice in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Bring to scalding while almost continuously stirring with a rubber spatula to prevent scorching. Continue cooking for 5 minutes, or until it has thickened to the consistency of thin gravy.

Remove from heat and stir in bowl of cranberry sauce and vanilla until well incorporated. Evenly divide among 3-4 serving dishes, loosely cover with film wrap and refrigerate until completely chilled and set, about 3 hours. You can also simply pour into a large bowl to cool, scooping out portions when ready to serve.

Meanwhile, make meringue toppings. Beat egg whites using an electric mixer until soft peaks form. Slowly add remaining sugar while beating to stiff peaks.

Preheat oven to 350-degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and lightly grease with nonstick cooking spray. Pipe chocolate kiss-like mounds(or rosettes) to desired sizes onto parchment paper, leaving an inch between mounds. (This amount of meringue will make about 14-15 good-sized meringues, so use only half the whites if desired.

Place in oven for 5 minutes, then turn off the heat, leaving the meringues in oven for at least one hour to dry out.

When ready to serve, add as many meringues on top of each serving as desired.

* Want to make your own chunky cranberry sauce? You will need to give yourself some time. Simply place 1(12-ounce)bag fresh cranberries in a medium saucepan with 1 cup frozen orange juice concentrate(thawed)and 1/3 cup water. Bring to a boil over medium heat. Continue boiling for about 8 minutes, or until most, if not all, the cranberries have popped open. Remove from heat, transfer to a large bowl, cool to room temperature and cover with film wrap. Refrigerate until completely chilled. It will thicken substantially when cooling. Use in place of the canned cranberry sauce above. 

Saturday, November 25, 2017

Punkin' Time


I am not even going to attempt to tell you just how important pumpkin was, and is, the New Englanders. Let me just begin by giving you just a smidgen of the pumpkin recipes I have in my library for you to look over for your next gathering. Let's begin!


Pumpkin-Cinnamon Streusel Rolls

These cinnamon roll-like treats create a type of caramelized glaze both on top and on bottom with a sweet crunch in the middle of every bite. When combined with the great flavor of a pumpkin streusel pie I think this will quickly replace the classic cinnamon rolls so often loved. Want to serve this up on your Holiday morning? Simply coat the top of each roll that has been placed in the muffin cups with nonstick cooking spray, loosely cover with film wrap and refrigerate overnight. In the morning, crank the oven and bake!

Dough:
1/2 cup warm milk
3 tablespoons molasses
1/4 cup sugar(see NOTE)
1(.25-ounce)pkg. dry yeast
3/4 cup canned pure pumpkin
4 tablespoons butter or margarine, melted
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
2 cups flour
Nonstick cooking spray
Streusel:
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup flour
2 teaspoons cinnamon
2-2 1/2 tablespoons butter or margarine, melted
1/4 cup your favorite maple syrup
Glaze:(For thinner glaze, add additional water)
2 cups powdered sugar
1 tablespoon water
1 teaspoon vanilla

Add milk, molasses and sugar to a large mixing bowl, whisking until well combined. Sprinkle yeast over the top and let sit for 10 minutes, or until frothing. Add pumpkin, butter, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg, beating until smooth. Add flour all at once and continue beating, on low speed, until all the flour has been incorporated. (Unlike regular bread dough, this dough will not leave the sides of the bowl, it should be very soft).
Cover and let sit on the counter in a warm spot of your kitchen until about double in bulk.
Liberally grease a 6-cup muffin tin with nonstick cooking spray. You can also use a mini muffin pan as well, just cut each roll half the thickness as described below.
In a bowl, combine streusel ingredients(except maple syrup) and mix with a fork until even in color and texture.
Liberally flour a work surface and empty out bowl of dough. Knead dough, bringing up the sides and folding it into itself for about 2 minutes, until it is no longer sticky. Add more flour as you knead and use a dough knife if needed as well.
Roll out dough to about 16-inches in length to 10-inches wide. Spread maple syrup to within an inch of all sides. Sprinkle streusel evenly over the top, to within an inch of the sides. Start rolling tightly from the long end in front of you, ending with the seam-side down. Cut into 6 equal-sized slices and place each into greased cups of muffin tin.
Set aside to rise once again to about 50% larger in volume. Preheat oven to 350-degrees F and bake rolls for 25 minutes, or until when pressed toward the center, it bounces back and the top is crisp.
While rolls are baking, prepare glaze by mixing powdered sugar, water and vanilla together until smooth; set aside.
Remove from oven to cool slightly before running a knife around the edges to loosen. Lift each out to glaze while hot and serve.


NOTE: If you don't have molasses, simply substitute 2/3 cup brown sugar, lightly packed.



Pumpkin Corn Pudding
I know...right?! Seems odd that summer and fall are almost behind us and now we are thinking of the Holidays. These would make the perfect side dish for your big ol' turkey this year and these mini pumpkins are ready now in stores and orchards and road-side stands everywhere.



6 mini pumpkins(about 8 ounces each)
1 chipotle or other hot pepper
1 small onion, minced
1/2(10-ounce)pkg. frozen corn, thawed
1/2(10-ounce)pkg. frozen sliced carrots, thawed
3-4 ounces spicy ham, such as pancetta
2 tablespoons butter or margarine
1/2 teaspoon dried, crushed or rubbed sage
1 1/2 cups milk
4 eggs
Salt and black pepper to taste

Cut the top from each pumpkin and scoop out all seeds and membranes with a spoon. Add a couple tablespoons water in each, place the lids back on and microwave, separately, for 1 minute. Test by pressing against the sides. If you need more time before they are just tender enough to give, microwave 30 seconds at a time until done. Let each cool enough to handle before continuing.
Preheat oven to 350-degrees F. In a bowl, whisk together milk and eggs, setting aside. Cut in half, remove stem, deseed and mince hot pepper; set aside. Dice carrots small. In a large skillet, mix onion, corn, carrots, butter, minced hot pepper, sage, salt and pepper together well. Over medium high heat, cook until everything is starting to brown while stirring frequently, about 10 minutes.
Place hollowed out pumpkins on a very lightly greased baking pan and evenly divide corn mixture into each pumpkin, leaving 1 cup aside. Place tops of each pumpkin alongside each filled pumpkin and bake about 20-30 minutes, or until each pumpkin is soft but not starting to cave in or droop. Remove from oven and serve, with the additional corn mixture evenly topping each, reheating if needed. Serve with pumpkin tops.


Cinnamon Swirl Pumpkin Cream Bread
This truly is the most moist sweet bread recipe around. The added touch of cinnamon/maple swirl in the center just sends the taste off the edge. After eating this entire loaf among me and the kids, honest to goodness nobody had one single crumb on their plates.

Nonstick cooking spray
6 tablespoons butter or margarine, softened
3/4 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
1/2 cup your favorite eggnog
1 1/4 cups canned pumpkin(not spiced)
3 tablespoons cinnamon, divided
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1 1/4 cups flour
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup maple syrup



Preheat oven to 350-degrees F. Grease a 9-inch loaf pan with nonstick cooking spray; set aside.
In a large bowl and using an electric mixer, beat butter and brown sugar on high speed until well combined. It may not be smooth because I cut back on the butter, but if it resembles crumbs, that is perfect.
Add eggs and beat well. Add eggnog, pumpkin, 1 tablespoon cinnamon, baking soda and nutmeg. Continue beating, on low speed, until everything is evenly blended. Add flour all at once and beat until it just comes together.
In a separate, smaller bowl, mix together granulated sugar, remainder of cinnamon with maple syrup until well blended.
Pour half the bread batter into prepared pan. Drizzle maple mixture right down the center(it will be think) and add remaining batter over the top. Lift up a couple inches from the counter and drop a couple times to remove air bubbles. Bake 1 hour and 10 minutes, or until when touched in the center, it bounces back. Make sure you put a larger sheet pan underneath the loaf pan to catch any maple mixture that may bubble up over the sides.
Remove from oven, loosen the sides with a butter knife and let cool enough to transfer to a platter.

Harvest Time Pumpkin Cornbread

A great cornbread that truly showcases the flavors of our grandparents and far beyond. This recipe reminds me so much of Baked Indian Pudding, but with the classic texture of brittle(but not too brittle)corn bread. This is one of those rare bread recipes that you can substitute gluten free flour to without negatively affecting the texture. This is a keeper.


Nonstick cooking spray
1 1/2 cups cornmeal
1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1 cup Golden eggnog *
1 cup pure pumpkin
1/2 cup molasses

Preheat oven to 375-degrees F. Grease a 9-10-inch oven safe skillet(cast iron is, of course, the best) with a liberal amount of nonstick cooking spray; set aside.


In a large bowl, combine cornmeal, flour, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, salt and nutmeg. Add eggnog, pumpkin and molasses, stirring very well. It does not need to be lump free.
Pour into prepared skillet and back 44-46 minutes, or until cracked on top and when pressed in the center, it pops back up. Remove from oven to cool slightly before cutting into wedges to serve warm.
* Vanilla eggnog is excellent here as well, or even try caramel flavored eggnog.





Punkin' Custard 'Pie' with Apple-Pecan Crunch

Not quite a pie, not quite a custard. This deliciously moist dessert is light, airy and bursting with that warm, 'cuddly' taste, if that makes sense. There is just something about the smell of pumpkin cooking that instantly puts a smile on your face, and this treat will put a smile on even that one relative that is a little hard to crack.
4 mini pumpkins
1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon apple jelly
1/2 teaspoon lemon juice
1/4 cup chopped, dry roasted nuts of your choice
1 cup solid pack pumpkin
4 eggs, beaten
1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
Preheat oven to 350-degrees F. Cut off the stem end of each pumpkin, about a quarter of the way down. With a spoon, scoop out stringy flesh and seeds; set aside. In a small bowl, add apple jelly and microwave for 15 seconds, or until hot. Remove, add lemon juice and whisk smooth. Scoop out 1 tablespoon of jelly to another small bowl and stir in the chopped nuts, mixing well; set aside.
In a large bowl, whisk pumpkin, remainder of melted apple jelly, eggs and pumpkin pie spice. Evenly divide among the hollowed out pumpkins. Place on a pan and gently sprinkle prepared nuts on top of each so that they don't immediately sink into batter. It is fine if some do, they will rise back up as they are in the oven. Bake 50-55 minutes, or until the filling has puffed up and is firm to the touch.
Remove from oven to cool 5 minutes before serving. Or if desired, refrigerate completely before serving.






Spicy Pumpkin Chili   

Not too spicy, not too mild. The sweet taste of pumpkin works well to tone down any heat, but if it is fire that you want, simply mince a couple hot peppers and cook along with the onions and bell peppers. Dollop some sour cream on top and sprinkle shredded Monterey Jack cheese if desired.

2 teaspoons oil
1 small onion, peeled and minced
1 small green bell pepper, seeded and minced
1 pound ground chicken or turkey
2 tablespoons chili powder
1 tablespoon cumin
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1(15-ounce)can white beans, drained
1 cup whole kernel corn
1(15-ounce)can diced tomatoes in juice
1(15-ounce)can tomato sauce or puree
1(15-ounce)can packed pumpkin
Salt and black pepper to taste

In a large saucepan, over medium heat, add oil. When oil is hot, add onion and bell pepper, cooking until softened, about 3-4 minutes. Add chicken, continuing to cook until chicken is thoroughly cooked through, stirring frequently to break up. Add remainder of ingredients, stir to combine and reduce heat to low. Partially cover and allow to simmer for 15 minutes. Serve hot. 
About 5 good sized servings



Doodle Pop Cake 

Anyone remember the childrens show Doodle Bops? My children loved it! So this cake is now a standard in my home not only in title but because the flavor is reminiscent of a Snickerdoodle cookie as well, of which every child loves. A softly scented cake that can just be grabbed by a childs hands and eaten.....of course you may want to follow them with a vacuum.

Butter-flavored, nonstick cooking spray
1/2 stick(1/4-cup) butter or margarine, softened
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup applesauce
3/4 cup pumpkin
1 egg
1 tablespoon vanilla
1 cup flour
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
Topping:
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 tablespoon cinnamon

Grease a 9-inch cake pan with nonstick cooking spray; set aside. Preheat oven to 350-degrees F. With an electric mixer, beat butter  with brown sugar until blended well. Add applesauce, pumpkin, egg and vanilla, continuing to beat until thoroughly mixed.
In a separate bowl, blend flour, spices and baking soda. Slowly add to batter, beating well.
Pour into prepared pan and bake 26-28 minutes, or until it springs back when touched in the center. Remove from oven and set aside while in pan.
Spray the top of the cake lightly with cooking spray while hot. In a small bowl, blend sugar and cinnamon for the topping and evenly sprinkle over the cake. Let cake cool to serve.





New England-Style Waldorf Salad
Ordinarily, and classically, Waldorf Salad would have grapes but I think the tang of cranberries that have been plumped up with grape juice brings this recipe to a whole new level. And when lemon curd is added and this perfect Holiday side dish and presented in a mini pumpkin, you will be handing out this recipe to everyone who asks......or will you just keep it in the family?


3 mini pumpkins
1/2 cup 100% grape juice
1/4 cup dried cranberries
1/4 cup golden raisins
2 apples
1/2 cup lemon curd
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/4 teaspoon Chinese 5-spice powder
2 tablespoons minced celery
2 tablespoons chopped walnuts, pecans or slivered almonds
?
Cut the stem ends of each pumpkin off. With a spoon, dig out stringy flesh and seeds; set aside. Place grape juice, cranberries and raisins in a small saucepan and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer 10 minutes. Remove from heat and let sit for 30 minutes.
When ready, peel, core and dice apple to equal about 2 cups total; set aside. In a small bowl, whisk the lemon curd, mayonnaise and Chinese 5-spice powder; set aside. Strain cranberries and raisins if all the liquid has not been absorbed and discard any remaining liquid. Add to a bowl with apple, celery, walnuts and mayonnaise mixture. Cover and refrigerate at least one hour before evenly dividing among the prepared pumpkins and serving cold.


The Best Jefferson Davis Pie 

Jefferson Davis has been punked......with 'punkin, that is! Want a great, timeless Southern pie with a Yankee influence that tastes exactly like a "punkin' chip cookie? Both North and South are equally represented here in a dessert that is outrageously good. Classically, Jefferson Davis Pie is made with egg yolks but replacing them with egg substitute works equally as well. Go ahead and use 4 egg yolks and 2 whole eggs if desired.

Shortbread Crust:
2 cups shortbread cookie crumbs or crushed vanilla waters
3 tablespoons butter or margarine, melted
Filling:
1/2 stick(1/4 cup)butter or margarine, room temperature
1 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup egg substitute
4 tablespoons flour
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 cup raisins or dried cranberries
1/2 cup chocolate chips *
3/4 cup canned pumpkin

Preheat oven to 325-degrees F. In a bowl, combine cookie crumbs with melted butter. Transfer to a 9-inch pie pan and press against the bottom and up the sides; set aside. In a large bowl, beat butter and brown sugar until smooth and creamy. Add egg substitute, pumpkin and vanilla, continuing to beat on high until well incorporated. Reduce speed to low and beat in flour, cinnamon and nutmeg. Using a spoon or rubber spatula, fold in the raisins and chocolate chips. Pour into prepared pie shell and bake 32-34 minutes, or until the center is firm to the touch. Remove from oven to cool slightly before serving. This pie is even better cold.


* To stay as close to original as possible, substitute the chocolate chips for chopped, dried apricots, chopped dates or even some candied fruit for the Holidays.

Saturday, November 11, 2017

More Than Maple Syrup

I, as every single other Yankee, grew up having one syrup and one syrup only with our pancakes, French toast and waffles. Some of us have even poured it over a sandwich or two as a child. There simply is no other syrup to use for these breakfast items and never has been. Our bodies, minds, spirits and blood run solemnly and slowly with the maple syrup of today and all the yesterdays since we began our journey here in the rocky barrens of New England.



https://www.facebook.com/NorthStarOrchards/?pnref=story
Outrageously great tasting





Then came a day when I was judge of a local festival and was looking for sponsors as part of a gift basket to go along with cookbooks, kitchenware, gift certificates and money. I happened upon Maine Man Flavahs, who had the most extraordinary hot sauce, made with Maine wild blueberries, I had ever tasted. Then came a package from Bar Harbor Jam Co. that had the best wild blueberry syrup in the world. And I am not exaggerating on either account. In fact, my children would NOT eat pancakes or waffles now without blueberry syrup. I began to think (of what I would have already thought)a syrup that screamed New England other than blueberries. Can you think of one other fruit or berry that is simply a moniker that means New England? Oooohhh, I can.....apples!



There MUST be an apple syrup somewhere around. For the entire summer I searched high and low for a perfect apple syrup but I could not find even one syrup whose main(or #1)ingredient was anything other than corn syrup until I took a look on the shelves of my favorite apple orchard anywhere in New England.



Not only is Treworgy's Family Orchard the entire reason for penning my third cookbook(seen on the right of this post) but as I was gleaning the shelves in their store for anything that remotely resembled pancake syrup, one little bottle caught my eye. The green Made in Maine label was enticing enough for me to dig for my glasses. On they went and I grabbed the "cider jug" looking glass bottle and what do you know! APPLE SYRUP!!!! I didn't get my hopes up much because right next to it was another bottle of apple syrup without the green Made in Maine tag. Being a scrutinizing kinda feller I am, I turned each over, just hoping the first word in the ingredient list was NOT going to be corn syrup.



Sure enough, the first bottle was corn syrup. I looked at the bottle in my right hand. Squinted, moved the green tag and read "FRESH McIntosh apple juice, sugar, cinnamon, allspice and cloves..." I immediately turned the bottle around to see the name of this syrup. Spiced Apple Syrup from McIntosh Farm, in Madison, Maine.



I placed the other bottle back on the shelf and did something I have NEVER done before in my life. Paid for something without looking at the price tag. It just didn't matter, I had the real deal. And when I explain the syrup itself below, it may seem like I am taking poetic license, being paid for this review and am getting a life time supply but you could not be further from the truth. This syrup is so good, authentic, aromatic and perfect, it is going to be in every single food column I write for print around the country.



McIntosh Farms nailed it! And I mean drove a spike through anybody else who may think their apple syrup outshines this one. It just isn't going to happen. Once you open this bottle, make sure nobody else is looking and close your eyes, Take a smell and tell me what instantly comes to mind. To me, it was Grammies kitchen. It was the most desirable apple pie being baked in an old time oven. It was the best, most vibrant apple cinnamon candle you could buy. It was the smell of apples and spices simmering on your stove all day long, and into the night.



I could go on and on, but it was much more than just apples and cinnamon. As the label says, a deeply aromatic blend of spices that were just as true in flavor as in aroma.



Now my children and I have another syrup to chose from instead of maple syrup. Don't get me wrong! I adore maple and the essence of maple drifting from room to room first thing in the morning. But when you combine that sweetness that you crave with pancakes with a fruity flavor of Maine mac's, there is absolutely nothing more I can add to this bottle, even in words. I highly urge you to seek out this company and buy a bottle of this syrup. ....NO! Buy 2 bottles! Keep one at home and sneak one as a gift to a family member or friend.



I was floored, and you will be too. The search is over now. Take a look for yourself on Facebook here or on their website here.

 

Saturday, November 4, 2017

A Very Difficult Time For Some Children

Good Saturday everyone.


For those of you who are unaware of what hundreds of thousands of us Mainers have gone through the past week  and continue to go through, let me give you a brief description.
A "wicked" wind storm blew through our State Monday creating such havoc that we haven't seen the same since the great ice storm a decade ago.. Many homes went without power and a generator and continue to go without as of this posting. My family was without electricity but we were fortunate enough to have had the gift of a generator that helped feed my family a hot meal, unlike many thousands of others.
At CCES, Central Community Elementary School in Corinth, Maine, children found refuge from the cold and were able to eat a hot meal while in school, which for many was the ONLY hot meal they had during the week.
My family and I have extended a hand and offered to pay for any hot meal these children wished to have for November 2 and 3. This will assuredly run into a lot of money so this is why I am posting this offer below. AND pay one particular attention to what my 6 year old son is doing as well.

 

As you are aware, our family is paying for hot meals for children for this past Thursday and Friday at Central Community Elementary School in Corinth, Maine for those families who were without power and did not have a generator in order to provide a hot meal at home during the power outage. We are forwarding every single cent from profits from my third cookbook in order to defray the cost. My 6 year old son, who is pictured on the cover, has ALSO decided to give his profit to this cause. Something to think about.....







There are a couple different options for you. The first would be to contact either me or CCES and donate directly if you would like. For just $4, you can help with the cost for 1 student for both days.

Or you can buy my latest cookbook, called The Sweet Fight for $19.50. This price includes having the book shipped to my home, signed by both of us and with a personalized message from both of us thanking you for the help with this cause. I will then package and ship it to you.

This offer holds true to the Kindle version of my book as well. All proceeds from Kindle for the next 10 days will be used toward this cause.









The last option is a great one. You can purchase BOTH my second cookbook AND my third cookbook(entitled REFRESHED) for $35 with the same shipping as above. BUT, I only have 5 REFRESHED cookbooks left.

If interested, message me here and I will forward my address so that you can mail a check or money order. On November 15, I will send in the order and get the ball rolling. All orders must be prepaid as soon as possible.

I can't tell you how meaningful this is to me, my family and those kids who will were benefited by your kindness. AT the very last, I would adore any and all SHARES of this post. Again, thank you for your kindness.

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

My Best So Far






Here is my third book, entitled The Sweet Fight. I think it is my best book yet because I was able to be as creative as I wanted. I was also able to set the price. That is the one thing that always bothered me. Well, that and not being able to design my own cover. 

It covers so much when it comes to children's health and reasons why we(as parents)need to change their eating habits NOW! And the best way for the to happen is.................well, you gotta read the book. Not only does it have all sorts of facts and info on childhood nutrition, but I give some some ingenious ways of hiding all that is good for them in ways they would know, showing how parents can showcase fruits and vegetables that intrigues them and ideas on how to introduce such goodness in their diets. 

I have also given dozens of recipes that highlight vegetables in entrees that are the primary focus, with proteins as a back up. That way, everyone is still satisfying that carnivorous gene each of us have.

So take a look at and obviously buy this cookbook. I have added some blank pages in it so that your child can add his/her own creative ideas and recipes for your grandchildren and beyond to enjoy. Wouldn't it be nice to be able to open that book up 50 years in the future to see what was written and think about that one day when you spent some quality time with your loved one?

Follow the link to your right for the most creative cookbook around. 

Monday, October 2, 2017

It's Apple Time!

I have the good fortune to live just down the road to what I consider the most family-friendly apple orchard I have ever visited... Treworgy's Family Orchard! You see, so many businesses tout the word family in order to gain your business and trust and I honestly have only come across a handful that live up to that reputation. And every single one of them are here in New England. That says something about us Yankees right there! Two of these businesses are here in Maine, with Treworgy's topping that list by a long shot!

Being a father, I honestly look for places to take my children because there are so few fun places to enjoy the outdoors. And I mean that! For the past 20 years, we have NEVER had a babysitter...not even for 1 minute. The closest we have ever come is dropping my son off at a classmates home at the local Ronald MacDonald house because she is sick and just completed a bone marrow transplant. She requested Thomas to visit and Thomas is ALWAYS requesting to visit with her. Other than that, I am more of a Dad than many fathers I have met, some may say overbearing or overprotective. My answer? "And?????....."


 

I had the good fortune to have had a sit down with the CEO of this true child-friendly place. Jonathan Kenerson.

I could take forever and relate the entire stock of produce this family business offers for self picking, but I would much rather tell you what a great place it is to bring your children.

Gary Treworgy began this orchard in the late '80s with the good ol' Yankee stand-by, the Mac apple!. It has steadily grown, with a "thankee m'am"a few years into it(I dare you to tell me what a thankee m'am is)but soon recovered with obvious fervor, Yankee ingenuity and their obvious devotion to family. Over the years, they have included livestock of all kinds, games, a vast array of Maine-made gifts and edibles as well as, probably, the best cider I have ever tasted. No, they don't make their own cider in-house, Instead, they use their "family value" system of their business model by partnering with another local apple orchard, Rowell's.

Setting aside the hay rides, their famous corn maze and a host of varied entertainment venues each and ever year, Treworgy's is famous for ice cream and apple cider donuts. I just can't find one fault with this.....well, yes I can actually., but I shouldn't call it a fault. It is wishful thinking on my part and many others. After bringing up my take on what they should do in their kitchen for the hundreds of people to visit daily, Jonathan was all too quick to jump up, beckon me into his kitchen and without a word, he put his money where his apple pie hole is. One look around and I was as mum, as they come. They do the best they can do with what the have. After all, it isn't easy to fit a dozen or more people in that kitchen on any given day, my living room is larger than that! Case closed, but it doesn't keep me from thinking about it every single time I go pickin'.

Someday, I think it would greatly benefit them and everyone else to have an array of real New England apple dishes, i.e. brown Betty's, Crisps, breads, cobblers, slumps, grunts...to name a few....AND APPLE PIE!

I have included apples extensively in my newest cookbook entitled The Sweet Fight, due out by Christmas, 2017. My incentive for all the info and recipe utilizing apples? My heritage, the apple cider that has run in my veins for almost 400 years and Treworgy's Family Orchard. So they hold a special part of my cookbook.

In the meantime, if Treworgy's won't cave and make some great Yankee apple dishes, then here are a couple of my all-time favorites that you can start making after a trip to Treworgy's.
 

 

 
 

 


Sticky Apple Coffee Cake

Simple, sweet and sticky...just what a good coffee cake should be. With apple season in full picking mode, this is the perfect time to pick, prepare and place right next to a glass of cold milk.
 
Nonstick cooking spray

1/4 cup butter or margarine, softened
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 egg
1/2 cup plain yogurt, sour cream or milk
1 tablespoon vanilla
1 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
2 cups diced apple
Streusel Topping:
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup flour
2 tablespoons maple syrup
1/2 cup diced apple
 

Preheat oven to 350-degrees F. Grease a 8-inch square pan with nonstick cooking spray; set aside. Using an electric mixer, beat butter and brown sugar on high until creamy. Add egg, yogurt and vanilla. Continue beating on high until well combined and smooth.

In a separate bowl, combine flour and baking soda. Add to butter mixture and beat in until smooth. Fold in diced apple. Pour into prepared pan; set aside.

In a small bowl, mix together brown sugar, flour, maple syrup until dry ingredients are wet. Gently mix in apples and sprinkle on top of cake batter. Bake 40-42 minutes, or until it bounces back when touched in the center. Remove from oven and serve hot or cool before serving.


 

Sweet Apple Baden Cake

Don't let the list of ingredients fool you. This recipe is simple, inexpensive and, by far, the most extraordinary apple cake you will ever have. I purposely made the cake slightly less sweet than ordinary 'coffee cake'-like desserts, because I wanted the apple to shine through, and it certainly won't let you down. Use your favorite sweet, hard apple here.
 
1 ½ cups flour
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 cup apple cider reduction*
½ stick butter(1/4-cup), melted
1 egg, beaten
1 large or two small Liberty apples, peeled, cored and diced
Topping:
1 cup flour
3/4 cup brown sugar
2 tablespoons butter or margarine, melted
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
Glaze:
1 cup powdered sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla
2-3 tablespoons milk
 

Preheat oven to 350-degrees F. Spray nonstick cooking spray into a 9-inch pie pan. You can opt for a 9-inch square pan if desired. In a large bowl, combine flour, brown sugar, baking powder and cinnamon, mixing well. Stir in the apple cider reduction, melted butter and egg until just blended, lumps are fine. Transfer to the prepared pie pan. Evenly spread the diced apples over the top.

In a small bowl, combine all topping ingredients and even sprinkle over the top of the apples. Every bit of the topping must be damp so if you need more melted butter, add a tablespoon at a time, but it should be fine the way it is. Bake 30-35 minutes, or until firm in the center when touched. Remove to rack to cool for just a little bit, we want to serve this beauty warm. While waiting, make your glaze by combining all ingredients and mixing until smooth. Start out with 2 tablespoons milk and add more if needed to drizzle.

* I chose to boil apple cider until it reduced to make 1 cup. It is tremendously sweet and potent, perfect for this cake. If you don't have the time, nor inclination, I suggest 1 cup frozen apple juice concentrate, thawed. Or maybe a cup of maple syrup is your thing? It is all good.

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Yeah....This May Be Boring To Most Of You....

.....but I LOVE this stuff. To read the centuries old cookbooks and way of the lives of our ancestors could keep me occupied for hours on end. One of my favorite cookbooks is, of course, a Yankee cookbook dated 1772 called The Frugal Housewife. But this isn't even the oldest cookbook I have. Enjoy these excerpts for some ancient cookbooks in my library, verbatim, misspellings and all.



To Make Lumber Pie: Take a pound and a half fillet of veal, mince it with the same quantity of beef suet, season it with sweet spice, five pippins, a handful of spinach and a hard lettuce, thyme and parsley, Mix with it a penny loaf grated and the yolks of two or three eggs, sack and orange-flower water, sweet spice, a pound and a half currents and preserves, and a caudle.
                                                                                                               The Frugal Housewife, 1772.
 


Hashed Venison: Should be warmed with its own gravy, or some without seasoning as before; and only warmed through, not boiled. If there is not fat left, cut some slices of mutton fat, set it on the fire with a little port wine and sugar, simmer till dry; then put to the hash, and it will eat as well as the fat of the venison.                                                                          The American Domestic Cookery, 1822.
 


To Make Venison Pasty: Raise a high round pie, shred a pound of beef suet, and put it into the bottom;' cut your venison in pieces and season it with pepper and salt. Lay it on the suet, lay on butter, close the pie, and bake it.                                                       The New England Cookery, 1808.

 


To Recover Venison when it Stinks: Take as much cold water in a tub as will cover it a handful over, and put in good store of salt, and let it lie three of four hours. Then take your venison out, and let it lie in as much hot water and salt, and let it lie as long as before. Then have your crust in readiness, and take it out and dry it very well, and season it with pepper and salt pretty high, and put it your pastry. Do not use the bones of your venison for gravy, but get fresh beef or other bones.
                                                                                                               The Compleat Housewife, 1730.

 


To Ficassee Chicken: Cut up the chicken raw, in the manner as you do for eating, and flat the pieces a little with a rolling pin. Fry them of a light brown; after wards put them into a stew pan, with sufficient quantity but not too much gravy, a spoonful or two of white wine, to two or three chickens, a little nutmeg and salt. Thicken it with flour and butter, ,garnish with sippets within the dish, and with crisp parsley on the rim.                                                                   The Frugal Housewife, 1772.

 

 


To Poach Eggs: Set a Stew pan of water on the fire; when boiling, slip an egg, previously broken into a cup, into the water, when the white looks done enough, slide an egg slice under the egg, and lay it on taste and butter or spinach.                                         A New System of Domestic Cookery, 1807.

 


To Preserve Eggs: May be preserved by anointing them with lard or any greasy or oily substance for months, and some say years. The oily substance closed the pores, hinder the access of air, and thus prevents putrefaction. they should be anointed soon after they are laid.
                                                                                              The Husbandman and Housewife, 1820.


 


To Make Turkey Pie: Bind the turkey, season it with savory spice, and lay it in the pie, with two capons cut in pieces,to fill up the corners. A goose pie is made the same way, with two rabbits to fill it up as aforesaid.                                                                                     The Frugal Housewife, 1772.

 


To Stuff a Turkey: Grate a wheat loaf, one quarter of a pound butter, one quarter of a pound salt pork, finely chopped, two eggs, a little sweet marjorum, summer savory, parsley, pepper and salt(If the pork be not sufficiently) fill the bird and sew it up. The same will answer for all wild fowl. Water fowls require onions. The same ingredients stuff a leg of veal, fresh pork, or a loin of veal.
                                                                                                         The New American Cookery, 1805.

 


To Stew Pigeons: Stuff the birds with seasoning made of ground pepper, salt, mace and sweet herbs. Half roast them, then put them in a stew pan with a sufficient quantity of gravy. a little white wine, some pickled mushrooms and lemon peel. When stewed enough, take out the birds, thicken the liquor with butter and the yolks of eggs.                                                      The New England Cookery, 1808.

 


To Make Chouder: Take a bass weighing four pounds, boil half an hour; take six slices raw salt pork, fry them till the lard is nearly extracted; one dozen crackers soaked in cold water five minutes. Put the bass into the lard, also the pieces of pork and crackers, cover close, and fry for twenty minutes; serve with potatoes, pickles, apple sauce or mangoes. Garnish with green parsley.
                                                                                                  The New American Cookery, 1805.

 


To Dress Cold Crab: Empty the shells, and mix the flesh with oil, vinegar, salt and a little white pepper and cayenne. Then put the mixture into the large shell and serve. Very little oil is necessary.                                                                                 The American Domestic Cookery, 1822.

 


To Make Hot Crab: Pick the meat out of a crab, clear the shell from the head, then put in the former, with a very small bit of nutmeg, salt, [pepper, a bit of butter,crumbs of bread, and three spoonfuls of vinegar, into the shell again, and set it before the fire. You may brown it with a salamander. Dry toast should be served to eat it upon.                                        
                                                                                     A New System of Domestic Cookery, 1807.

 


To Boil Cod sounds: Soak them in warm water half an hour, then scrape and clean, and if to be dressed white, boil them in milk and water. When tender, serve them in a napkin, with egg sauce. The salt mush not be much soaked out, unless for fricassee.
                                                                                                
To Make Eel Broth: Very nourishing for the sick. Stew two hours and add an onion and [peppercorns; salt to taste.
                                                                                            The American Domestic Cookery, 1822.

 


To Make Eel Pie: Cut, wash and season them with sweet seasoning and a handful of currants, butter and close it.                                                                                               The Frugal Housewife, 1772.

 


To Make Lobster Salad: Make a salad; and put some of the red part of the lobster to it, cut. this forms a pretty contrast to the white and green of the vegetables. Don't put much oil, as shell-fish absorb the sharpness of vinegar. Swerve in a dish, not a bowl.
                                                                                               The American Domestic Cookery, 1822.

 


To Fry Muscles: Put them into a kettle, in which there is as much boiling water was will cover them. Being enough, take them up and beard them, then wash them in warm water, wipe them dry and flour them. Being fried crisp, dish them up with butter beaten with the juice of lemon and parsley throwed over them, fried crisp and green.
                                                                                                               The Family Dictionary, 1705.




To Make Oyster Pie: Parboil a quart of large oysters in their own liquor, mince them small, and pound them in a mortar, with pistachio nuts, marrow and sweet herbs, and onion and savory seeds, and a little grated bread; or season as aforesaid whole. Lay on butter and close it.
                                                                                                                    The Frugal Housewife, 1772.

 


To Pickle Oysters: Take a quart of oysters, and wash them in their own liquor very well, till all the grittiness is out. Put them in a sauce pan or stew pan and strain the liquor over them . Set them on the fire, and scum them; then put in three of four blades of mace, a spoonful of whole pepper-corns, when you think they are boiled enough, throw in a glass of white wine. Let them have a thorough scald; then take them up and when they are cold, put them in a pot and pour the liquor over them, and keep them for use, Take them out with a spoon.
                                                                                                             The Compleat Housewife, 1730.

 


To Make Shrimp Sauce: Wash half a pint of shrimps very clean. Mince and put them in stew pan, with a spoonful of anchovey liquor and a pound of thick melted butter; boil it up for five minutes and squeeze in half a lemon. Toss it up and put it in a sauce boat.
                                                                                                               The Virginia Housewife, 1825.




To Make a Strong Fish Gravy: Take two or three eels, or any fish you have, skin or scale them, gut them and wash them from grit. Cut them into little pieces, put them into sauce pan, cover them with water, a ;little crust of bread toasted brown, a blade or two of mace, some whole pepper, a few sweet herbs, and a little bit of lemon peel. Let it boil till it is rich and good, then have ready a piece of butter, according to your gravy: if a pint, as big as a walnut. Melt it in the saucepan, then shake in a little flour, and toss it about till it is brown, and then strain in the gravy to it. Let it boil a few minutes and it will be good.                                                                                     The Frugal Housewife, 1772.