Saturday, July 15, 2017

Wood Vinegar......You are missing out!




Never heard of it? I dare say that only 1 out of every 100 people even think of using this product, and I may even be generous. It is simply the archaic term for liquid smoke.

It adds tremendous, authentic smoke flavor to anything it is added to. Sure, there are ways of making it at home, but it is far more feasible to buy a small jar of it and keep it at home to use when needed.

When buying this product, make sure there are NO other ingredients other than water and smoke flavor. Smoke flavor?!?!

Yup! Manufacturer's simply burn mesquite, apple or hickory wood chips at a high temperature and use a complex distillation process, using only the wood chips and water. This results in a condensed liquid smoke exactly as the old-time moonshiners used.....or still use.

Sure there are some producers who take a short cut and add caramel for coloring and flavoring, along with salt and other flavorings, but all you have to do is look at the label. If you see water and concentrated smoke and/or the words all natural, then you are in luck. Stay away from other brands who add any more than those two items.

A great way of using liquid smoke is by adding a 1/2 teaspoon to a cup of water and use this mixture to marinade steak or chicken before grilling with other seasonings of your choice. Many people opt to add a couple drops to their favorite barbecue sauce as well. Adding some to your favorite cheese sauce gives it a decadently pleasing aroma and flavor as it does baked beans.

Now lets talk health and safety. Is liquid smoke safe to consume? Upon test, upon examination, upon scientific study, it is found that liquid smoke MAY contain a carcinogen, but first let me explain.

Buy smoked salmon, smoked turkey or other proteins in the deli, smoked cheeses....heck, anything smoked and you have the same exact carcinogen.

I know, I know, I have preached time and time again with regards to processed foods, but do yourself a favor. Don't freak! Use your head and buy ONLY the liquid smoke with the two ingredients mentioned above.

You would have to ingest roughly 3-4 full bottles before it should even cross your mind. In fact, smoked ham has 20x the amount of carcinogens, smoked turkey has 30x the amount and smoked herring and salmon about 120x the amount, when comparing serving amounts.

And to ease your mind a little further, most of these same carcinogens are fat soluble, unlike liquid smoke carcinogens, which is water-soluble. This means we are capturing the smoke flavor without most of the cancer causing carcinogens.

So don't let the purist fervor excite you too much. Go ahead and grab a bottle the next time you are at the supermarket and have at it!

 
It's Just That Simple!™

 

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

SHUT UP!

I am so sick of the term BULLYING being used over and over again in the public, social media AND our policital stages. It has gotten to the point where it is used simply to evoke emotional outrage and to enable those who have NO idea what bullying really is in order to garner sympathy.

 If those of you who use this term for a false sense of sympathy, then you certainly have mine. But not for the reason you seek.

If you have ever been bullied, then you know that it is an action that should never be repeated. Let's put this in persepective.

If a female was brutally raped, she not only has to overcome the physical scars, but the emotional torment lasts for years, if not all her life.

When someone uses the term rape for sympathy without having been raped, that is highly offensive to those who went through that terrible ordeal.

"I feel I was emotionally raped....." is the term I often hear from those who seek attention. Can't you find another term? Unless you were actually physically raped, you just don't have a clue what one goes through.


The same holds true for bullying.

I see, incessantly, how certain people in the public arena are actually bullying someone by calling them names, questioning their emotional and psychiatric stability, verbally provoking violence against someone and sitting back to watch it all unfold. They smile when others support this behavior. But when this person who endures this bullying lashes back in any manner, the people who bullied are saying THEY are being bullied.

In school, when I was ACTUALLY bullied by guys and girls, I had finally decided to lash out after months of this treatment. I remember having a fight with one of  my many tormentors at school and when all was over, I came out of it holding my head high because I felt good that I wasn't going to be a sitting duck any longer.

That person was embarrassed and simply walked away afterward.

The earliest definition of the word bully was someone who was hired to do violence.

NOT someone who either defends themselves or seeks to equal the playing field.

NOT someone who gives it right back to those who seek to either destroy, slander or demean him or her in any way they can.


Let's get this right people!
 
 

First and foremost, if you think I am being political, you may be right, but NOT for the reasons you may think.

If you are thinking I must be defending someone who may have issues, who may not make all the right decisions, who may not be the best president we have had, who may be a little thin skinned, who may need to grow up a bit....you may be right.

Sure, this person is an embarrassment in ways I care not to discuss here now, but it does NOT, DOES NOT, give people the right to seek sympathy by telling everyone that THEY are being bullied, when in fact, they are the bullies.

I find this highly HIGHLY offensive, and I don't believe I have ever been offended before in my entire life. But this hits home deeply.

But do you know what really hit home? What, to me,  really crossed the line. And for most of you, it is a "nothing burger", but it troubled me. Watching CNN one day a couple weeks back, there were two male hosts that were apparently listening for the first time what Jared Kushners voice sounded like. They began laughing and silently ridiculing the higher than normal pitch of his voice! ARE YOU KIDDING ME CNN? To top it off, I wanted, so badly, to somehow contact BOTH male hosts and compare MY voice next to theirs. Mine is much deeper and authoritarian then either of theirs.
It is stuff like that that is completely uncalled for and is done for one reason only!

To humiliate!
 
And THATS not another sign of a bully???


I am friends with people in social media who bullied me to tears(and way beyond)and I just can't get over it. Why?

Because they have either deemed it a minor ocurrence in their life(without seeing what it actually did to me)or if they do realize they did something horrible to me, they have never apologized.

Bullying goes so much deeper than simple name calling and an "elbow in the side" "under your breath" statements and mocking.


True bullying is something that an all encompassing strategy to completely humiliate and destroy someones psychological structure without caring about the end result.

And for those of you who are defending a bully, you are absolutely no better than those school yard kids who stood behind the person who bullied me every single day. You did NOTHING!

 

In fact.....

By your simple silence, you enabled.
 
By your laughter, you enabled.
 
By just standing there and watching without walking away, you enabled.

 

I have taught ALL my children to say "I am sorry." to anyone they may have hurt, offended or simply to make them feel better because of something they inadvertantly did to cause heartache to someone.

This is called morality. This is called humane. This is called being a decent human being!

 

So for all of you who are seeking sympathy or use this word as a rallying cry for your cause.....

 

SHUT UP!

 

You demean this, all too real, word as you are demeaning the person that you are bullying. You should be ashamed of yourself.

 

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Jammin'



My last post was all about how a local company has nailed the flavor of Maine blueberries into products that outshines other businesses that use blueberries, Maine Man Flavah's. I have tasted dozens of other products, many from as far away as Oregon, claiming to use Maine blueberries in syrups, jellies, jams, preserves, muffin mixes and vinaigrettes. I will dare say that most used blueberry essence, extract or flavoring. How can you tell? Because you can smell sweet blueberry the second you open it....and I mean sweet, almost like perfume. That is the main indication of a fake blueberry addition.

And yes, I mean fake. Even though the extract or essence may come from blueberries in some form, when you scientifically alter pure wild blueberries, it is FAKE!

Not so with both Maine Man Flavah and Bar Harbor Jam Company. If I remember correctly, these guys have been around since the mid-80's and are truly local, buying and preparing right here at home.

Now they don't need me to give them a plug, one look at their product and it won't take long for you to place an order. One taste of their product and it won't take long for you to reorder. One look at there distribution list, and it won't take long for you to share with friends and family not in this great state.

From Maine to California, stopping at North Dakota, Ohio, Massachusetts, Maryland, Rhode Island, Montana, Tennessee, New Hampshire and Vermont for our friends who want to see what true Yankee blueberry ingenuity is all about.

I really am trying NOT to sound like an advertisement or paid spokesman, because I am not! When you are a New Englander, when you taste a product using Maine blueberries(for example), you stick with it and you tell everyone about it. This is exactly what I am doing.

For example, I recently tried Bar Harbor Jam Company's Wild Blueberry Syrup. Here is an image and even though it looks blue, the picture does it no justice. The syrup is not only bluer then it appears in the image, it is PERFECT! Outstanding doesn't begin to describe it.

I also have a bottle of their WILD Blueberry Vinaigrette 2 days ago. GONE!!!

Keep an eye out for the recipes I used it in. Just outstanding, AGAIN!

Take a peak at their website here and tell me it isn't some kinda temptin'.(Hey, it's the way I talk, get over it, hahaha.)

For anyone who seeks organic products, take a look. Chocolate covered blueberries AND cranberries, take a look. Frozen and dried blueberries, take a look. Breads and muffins, using wild Maine blueberries, take a look. Want a topping for your summer ice cream sundae's, take a look. And finally, for the best Blueberry Soda, take a look. Betcha never heard of Old Soaker Blueberry Soda before. Betcha never will drink another brand after this either! I could go on and on, but just take a look for yourself at the tremendous variety at Bar Harbor Jam Co..




Again, Maine continues to amaze me with its Yankee ingenuity, hard work, perseverance and above all, sticking with the world's best crop with no other artificial blueberry additives needed. You guys really are Jammin'.

 

Friday, June 9, 2017

T'ain't Right!

Yup.....that was what was going through my mind when I saw the label on some intriguing hot sauce at a local Christmas shop in Bar Harbor, Maine. Let me explain.

A friend of mine's girlfriend(Yes, also a friend as well)own the Christmas Vacation Shop in Bar Harbor, Maine, It is almost the time of year where you can't even move without offending someone downtown.
 
   Now BEFORE you go snickering about Christmas ornaments being sold in the summer, this store is all about Maine made gifts of ALL types, with emphasis on what made Maine THE tourist attraction, such as lobsters, lighthouses, blueberries and much more.
   At any rate, I took a walk into this quintessential Maine store with the premise of seeing Jim and Ellen(friends mentioned above) and simply to catch up. It seemed like it took me forever just to remove myself from staring at all the colorful, New England and Maine-themed ornaments and start treking to the counter to accomplish my goal. As I was doing so, I noticed a number of bottles that simply did not belong. Throwing my glasses on(first making sure nobody was around to see me with glasses)I noticed the name Maine Man Flavahs. Then I noticed the words Blueberry and Habanero. THEN I noticed a blue liquid in each bottle. My culinary curiosity was piqued so I hollered out "What's this stuff?" without even raising my head. Yeah, I blurt out off the cuff way to often and loud.

"Hot sauce" she immediately answered. Well, I wondered if hot sauce in a Christmas shop just t'ain't right! I couldn't have been more wrong

   This hot sauce is not only a Maine item, but it is a novelty Maine item, which fits in perfectly with the theme of the Christmas Shop.

At any rate, I bought a bottle and immediately looked this company up, gave them a call, visited them and the love affair soon began.

   Ben(one of the owners along with Brian)invited me to try a few more products in their line which haven't been widely distributed outside of Maine as of this writing. A Carrot Habanero Sauce, called Ain't Right on the label, was just as delicious as the Blueberry Habanero Sauce! I dare anyone to find either type of hot sauce that has as much flavor as these two. You simply cannot!

   After tasting what may very well be the most flavorful hot sauces on the market NATION-
ALLY, he brought out 2 items that have yet to hit a broader market, but soon will.

   Ben went on to explain that instead of tossing out the fiber-rich by-product of each hot sauce, he would allow his Yankee frugality to dictate business decisions.....and I am sure glad he did!

   The end result is The Guts(by-product of the Blueberry hot sauce) and the Ain't Right Guts(the results of the....well, you know the answer).

With some culinary magic, Yankee ingenuity and the desire to turn, what is ordinarily thrown out, "sumthin' outta nuthin'", these two relishes will blow you away! I cannot say enough about either of these products, other than they are a MUST try!

   In short, ya' gotta try these products and look for them at any of the following businesses. If you aren't around Maine, go to their website to order and even contact them for some new items coming in the next few weeks. Follow these links and find out for yourself!

 
 

 
 

 


For the Blueberry Habanero Guts, visit:



Tiller and Rye, in Brewer, Maine.
Natural Living Center and Central Street Farmhouse in Bangor, Maine.
Peeky Toe Provisions, in Bar Harbor, Maine.


For the Blueberry Habanero Sauce, visit these Maine businesses:

In Bar Harbor, Maine, go to Christmas Vacation Shop as mentioned, Bar Harbor Beer Works, Bar Harbor Jam Co., Blaze Pizzeria, Cherristones, Cool as a Moose , Dog and Pony Tavern, Jalapeños Mexican Restaurant, Peeky Toe Provisions.

In Bangor, go to Carolina's Sports and Spirits, Giacomo's Market, Miguel's Mexican Restaurant ,Natural Living Center and the Central St. Farmhouse

In Portland, Maine, go to Bayou Kitchen, King's Head Pandemonium, Shipwreck and Cargo, Taco Escobarr and Rivalries.

And here are other businesses that carry Maine Man Flavah products:

The Bacon Tree (Winterport)
Colonel's Deli (Northeast Harbor)
Fisherman's Net (Gray)
Flaming Gourmet (Kennebunkport, Maine)
Mason's Brewery (Brewer)
Mangy Moose (Freeport)
North Woods Trading Post (Millinocket)
Rolling Fatties (Kingfield)
Sherman's Book Stores (throughout Maine)
Shipyard Brew Haus (Sugarloaf)
The Bag (Sugarloaf)
Spring Creek BBQ (Monson)
Taste Jamaica (Ellsworth)
The Pickled Wrinkle (Winter Harbor)
The Shuga Shack (Poland)
Tiller and Rye (Brewer)
Tradewinds Grocer (located throughout Maine)
Uno Mas (Farmington)
Village Market (Carmel)


And for those of you in the food and restaurant industry, simply ask for the product line through Dennis Paper Co. and W.A.Beans, both of Bangor.

In New Hampshire, these sauces can be found at the Bavarian Chocolate Haus (North Conway)

And one more thing! Am I plugging this company because of any particular reason? Yup!!! Because they are Yankee's.....

It's Just That Simple!™


 
 


 
 

Saturday, May 27, 2017

WHEN WAS THE LAST TIME.....

.....you helped someone in need?

We are looking to help a young girl who is a classmate and friend with my youngest son. Her name is Breena. In a nutshell, this poor little girl has been in the hospital since February with Aplastic Anemia. She has undergone Immuno Therapy and will be leaving for Boston for a bone marrow transplant. Her and Thomas are great friends and a few nights ago, when we got the flyer from school about Breena, Thomas asked if we could do something to help his friend. Of course I would have helped even IF they didnt know each other. So Friday, June 2, between 4:30 and 8:00 pm, there will be a benefit Spaghetti Dinner and Silent Auction at the Kenduskeag Mystic Tie Grange  in Maine. My son and I are donating a number of my last cookbook to help out.



So I am asking a couple things. If you can't make it, would you share this post?

If you can't make it but live in the area, could you offer ANYTHING for auction?

And if you can't make it, I would like to offer more copies of my cookbook for sale to benefit this young lady. From now until Thursday, June 1st, Thomas and I would love to offer it for $10 per copy. ONLY until June 1st though. Every single cent will be given to this family on the night of the dinner. The dinner is $7 for adults, $5 for children and all children under 6 is FREE.

If there is any cause that is worth anyones consideration, it is for a child. She is a beautiful little blonde haired girl and worthy of everyones thoughts and prayers. Anyone and everyone can message me for more info if needed. Can we forget about the enraging political rhetoric and give ourselves to a helpless child?
 

Sunday, May 14, 2017

The Last Stand

I am referring to the deep fryers last stand before summer hits! I don't know about the rest of you, but my deep fryer stands alone when temperatures reach above 70, of course with the exception of fried clams that is.
So I wanted to give you a couple recipes that are perfect send-offs to frying in oil that I think just may have you hauling it out one or two more times even when your kitchen begs you not to.

Coconut Mandazi Donuts

These Swahili treats should rightfully be called Mamri's because of the addition of coconut flavoring. Although very lightly tinctured with the taste of coconut, I urge you to add a teaspoon of coconut flavoring for a more pronounced taste treat. Either way, they are light, fluffy and even with the little bit of spices I use, the flavor is spot on.

 

1 cup warm coconut milk
1/4 cup sugar
1(1/4-ounce)package active dry yeast
2 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon dried ginger
1/4 teaspoon each dried nutmeg and allspice
1/4 cup butter or margarine, melted
1 quart canola oil
Powdered sugar for dusting

 

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together coconut milk, sugar and yeast. Let sit at room temperature for about 10 minutes, or until yeast is frothing.

When ready, using either a mixer with a dough hook or paddle, add flour, ginger, nutmeg, allspice and melted butter. Mix until dough leaves the side of the bowl and is thoroughly combined. Cover with dry cloth and let rise until double in bulk in warmest part of kitchen. This will be anywhere from 1-2 hours.

Punch down, cover and let rise until 50% larger in bulk this time.

Heat 1 quart of canola oil(or your choice of deep fat fryer oil)in a large, sturdy pot until temperature reaches 350-degrees F. Follow manufacturer's instructions if needed.

Transfer dough to well floured work surface and knead for a minute, adding more flour if needed to prevent sticking. Divide into 8 equal sized balls. Flatten each ball so that they are 4-inches in diameter. Cut into 4 equal sized triangles and let rest 10 minutes.

Fry 4 triangles at a time until well browned on both sides, about a minute per side. Carefully lift from oil onto paper towel-lined platter(or use a rack placed over a large sheet pan)while continuing to fry remainder of donuts. Let oil reheat for a minute or so before continuing with each batch.

Dust with powdered sugar while warm or wait until they have cooled to room temperature, or colder, before dusting.

Makes 32 donuts.

 

 

Sticky Apple Twisted Sistah's

With the classic Koeksister as an influence, these deliciously sweet, sticky "donuts" are so amazingly addictive, even the heat of summer will not prevent you from making these. But instead of cold honey drizzled over each(as usually prepared for true Koeksisters), I have added the sweetness AND flavor of apple in every bite.



Dough:
1 cup warm apple juice
1/4 cup sugar
1(1/4-ounce)package active dry yeast
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon dried nutmeg
1/4 cup butter or margarine, melted
1 quart canola oil
Apple Glaze:
1 1/3 cups apple cider or juice
1 teaspoon cornstarch


In a large mixing bowl, whisk together juice, sugar and yeast. Let sit at room temperature for about 10 minutes, or until yeast is frothing.

When ready, using either a mixer with a dough hook or paddle, add flour, cinnamon, nutmeg and melted butter. Mix until dough leaves the side of the bowl and is thoroughly combined. Cover with dry cloth and let rise until double in bulk in warmest part of kitchen. This will be anywhere from 1-2 hours.

Punch down, cover and let rise until 50% larger in bulk this time.

Heat 1 quart of canola oil(or your choice of deep fat fryer oil)in a large, sturdy pot until temperature reaches 350-degrees F. Follow manufacturer's instructions if needed.

On a well floured work surface, transfer dough and knead for 1 minute. Roll out dough until roughly 8 inches in width by 14-16 inches in length. Using a pizza cutter, or long, non-serrated knife, cut into 1/2-inch in width by 8-inch strips(obviously cutting from the long side).

Using 3 strips at a time, pinch one end of them together and braid until you reach the end. Pinch remaining end and cut in half, to form 2-four inch braids. Continue with remainder of dough strips. Let rest 10 minutes.

With a flat spatula, lift each off work surface and gently place in hot oil, cooking 3-4 braids at a time. Cook for about a minute. or until well browned on one side before carefully turning over to cook until browned on the other side.

Carefully lift from oil onto paper towel-lined platter(or use a rack placed over a large sheet pan)while continuing to fry remainder of donuts. Let oil reheat for a minute or so before continuing with each batch.

When done, make Apple Sticky Glaze by boiling apple cider over medium-high heat until reduced to 1/3 cup. Meanwhile, whisk cornstarch with 1 teaspoon water until smooth.

Whisk in cornstarch slurry to the third cup of reduced juice until thickened. Remove from heat and brush glaze over each Koeksister. Serve hot.

Makes about 10-12 Koeksisters

 


Apple Puff Fritters

The difference between these fritters and other, crispy classics is the puffy soft interior of each. Simple to make and a batter to do for, these fritters are great mouth poppers when seeing that apple fritter flavor. By using Apple Glaze, we are getting the sweetness of the usual powdered sugar glaze but an apple flavor boost.

 

Apple Glaze:
2 2/3 cups apple cider or juice
1 1/2 teaspoons cornstarch
Fritter Batter:
2 medium apples
1 cup plain yogurt
2 eggs, beaten
2 cups flour
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 quart canola oil

 

Make Apple Sticky Glaze by boiling apple cider over medium-high heat until reduced to 2/3 cup. Meanwhile, whisk cornstarch with 1 1/2 teaspoons water until smooth.

Whisk in cornstarch slurry to the reduced juice until slightly thickened; set aside and keep warm.

Peel, core and grate apples into a large bowl. You can also mince the apples to the size desired. Add yogurt and eggs, beating well.

In a separate bowl, blend flour, sugar and baking powder. Add dry to wet, stirring until completely incorporated.

Heat canola oil(or your choice of deep fat fryer oil)in a large, sturdy pot until temperature reaches 350-degrees F. Follow manufacturer's instructions if needed.

Carefully drop by 2 tablespoon measures into hot oil, cooking 3-4 at a time, and cook for about 30 seconds(see NOTE). Turn and cook for about a minute or more, until browned. Turn over once again to finish browning on the other side. Lift each out of hot oil, allowing excess oil to drain, and transfer to a rack or paper towel-lined pan. Let oil reheat for a minute before continuing with remainder of batter.

Toss Fritters into warm glaze, roll around until completely coated, repeating with all Fritters. Enjoy warm.

NOTE: You will want to do your first "flip" before the Fritters begin to brown too much because the batter inside the fritters will almost prevent itself from keeping the first, cooked side up out of the oil while cooking the underside(inertia). By only lightly cooking the first side. this will help the fritter to evenly brown on all sides.
 

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Get Off Your High Horse

I know this has absolutely NOTHING to do with cooking, genealogy, food or anything related to eating but it is something that really bothers me.

I am constantly thinking of my relatives that have passed over the years and especially all the Baileys that lived here in New England since the Puritan era. But I am most enamored with my family from Washington County, Maine because it was here that my gr.gr.gr.gr.great grandfather Nathaniel Bayley founded Baileyville, Maine. And his son, my gr.gr.gr. great grandparents Josiah and Charlotte Bailey was one of the first settlers of Topsfield, Maine.

They both lived on Bailey Hill in both towns and it is remarkable of how each lived off the land.

Once they had all passed, their graves are still erect and are found in their respective homesteads. I often take my children up there to see them and at the same time, we take detours to visit the old cemeteries in the same area and pay our respects to my father, grandfather, great grandfather and Josiah's son, my gr.gr. grandfather, Thomas Bailey.

But what is troubling is that I believe we are the ONLY people in our family that does so. My sister has gone up with me on numerous occasions but that is it!

This post is NOT meant to be demeaning to my family at all. They all have lives and my passion for my heritage should not be forced onto others.

Nope, this post is geared toward EVERYONE! We walk by hundreds of headstones that are neglected, fallen over and otherwise in desperate need of repair. Thank goodness every time one of my families headstones is looking like it needs help, I do what I can.

How on earth can someone not have pride in their family? Even if you visited them once in a while.......It is a shameful sight and my children know how it bothers me and they also know how grateful I am that they feel the same way. I can rest knowing that when I am gone, they will pick up the reigns and not neglect just what made them a Bailey.

Is it because of time constraints? Is it because you think you are better than the poor farmers in your family? I just do not get it!

My kids and I even take a walk to the cemetery right down the road from where I live and simply stroll through the cemetery looking at even more neglected, forgotten souls. I truly feel for those parents who lost a small child from long ago. I and my children often wonder why an infant died. But at the same time, we see headstones of people who lived to be near 100 years old and think about what the times were like when they were born in the 18th century and died in the 19th century. I think about what their households must have been like with no electricity and dinner aromas wafting everywhere. I could go on and on but will spare you.

The point of the post is to try and understand WHY so many of you neglect your past? I have so many people telling me that they know all about this person or that, yet they have no idea where they are buried. And many who DO know, have never taken the time to go.

Come on people. Walk the walk!!!! How would you feel if 100 years after your death, no one came to your grave, said a prayer, reflected on you or did not prop up your broken headstone?

It doesn't matter how rich you are(And I find that many who neglect their heritage tend to think they are better than those farmers before them are the ones who are well to do.)go visit your family, and not just your immediate family. Take the time to visit those who struggled just to feed their families because they had no other choice. Get off your high horse. YOU folks ought to be ashamed, no one else!

 

It's Just That Simple!