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.
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, 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
1 cup flour
3/4 cup brown sugar
2 tablespoons butter or margarine, melted
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
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.

Sunday, August 27, 2017


Yup, Labor Day, the last 'offical' picnic/cookout day up here in the Northeast. this has been the oddest summer that I recall. Most of us are still waiting for the warm weather to arrive. On one hand, I am quite content with the fact that I have only had to run my AC for less than a week total this summer. On the other hand, we are a family of kayakers and everything outdoorsy, so swimming has been few and far between.

But this crazy weather has not prevented us from firing up the grill and even taking our meals out on the deck to eat. These side dishes have been part of our menu for quite some time and I think they will be part of yours as well. Not your usual slaw and salad, these warm weather dishes should grace your table, be it picnic or dining room, all year long.


Fresh Butternut Salad with Cranberry Citrus Vinaigrette

This is one of those "salads" that tastes and satisfies as a hearty side dish. Wonderful flavor, filling without feeling guilty and perfectly suited for all times of year. Just a hint of protein is all this recipe needs to accomplish all this and more.

1 small butternut squash(about a pound)
2 ounces prosciutto, thinly sliced
1/2 cup crushed walnuts, pecans or your favorite nut
1/4 cup dried cranberries
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 ounces grated Parmesan cheese(about a half cup)
Salt and black pepper to taste
Cranberry Citrus Vinaigrette, recipe below


Cut the neck of the squash from the bulb, saving the bulb for another use. Peel the neck portion and cut in half lengthwise. Using a vegetable peeler, or mandolin if you have one, create long, thin ribbons of squash. Place ribbons in a large bowl. Cut sliced proscuitto into 2-inch segments and add to squash along with remainder of ingredients. Toss well, cover and refrigerate at least 1 hour before serving drizzled with Cranberry Citrus Vinaigrette.

For the vinaigrette, place 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil, 1/4 cup cranberry juice, 1/4 cup orange juice, 1 teaspoon grated orange zest and 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar in a blender or food processor and process until completely emulsified.

Enough for 3 servings.


Japanese Sweet Slaw

A gorgeous blend of colorful cabbage, carrots and squash and mixed into the tastiest blend of flavors you can add to coleslaw. A must serve at that final get together of the summer.

1(16-ounce)package shredded coleslaw mix
1/2 small butternut squash(about a pound)
1/2 cup coconut milk
1/4 cup sesame oil
1/4 cup honey
1 tablespoon each lime juice and apple cider vinegar
1/4 teaspoon white pepper
1/2 teaspoon minced garlic in oil or garlic powder

Cut the neck of the squash from the bulb, saving the bulb for another use. Peel the neck portion and cut in half lengthwise, using only one half of the neck and keeping other half for another time.

Slice squash into thin "half moons" and then cut them into matchsticks. Add squash to coleslaw mix in a large bowl and set aside.

Put remainder of ingredients in the bowl of a food processor or into a blender and puree on high until well blended. Pour into coleslaw and mix well. Cover and refrigerate at least 1 hour before serving.

Bacon Cole Slaw, Southern Style

Now who doesn't like bacon? I know it seems cliche now, but when a little smoky saltiness is added with genuine Southern sweetness of peaches, you are bound to make this for the Holiday table that will be replacing the picnic table before you know it.

1(16-ounce)package shredded coleslaw mix
1 cup mayonnaise
2 tablespoons spicy mustard
1 tablespoon lemon juice or apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon hot sauce
1 tablespoon sugar
Salt to taste
1 firm white peach, peeled, pitted and diced(see NOTE)
4 slices cooked bacon, crumbled

It is as easy as putting the coleslaw mix in a large bowl; set aside. Add the next 6 ingredients in another bowl and whisk very well, adding salt to taste. Add to coleslaw mix along with peach and bacon and tossing and mixing well. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.

NOTE: I use a white peach because it is far less 'peachy' in flavor, but is a touch sweeter. By all means, buy a regular peach if desired.

Enough for 6-8 sides.

Friday, August 4, 2017

The Name Says It All

As all of you are aware, I adore trying new products and will tell it like it is. If I dislike it, I won't say a thing. If I like it, then I will do everything imaginable to tout and spread the word about it. I have never, nor WILL ever, charge for my opinion, put it on the back burner or disregard one single query when it comes to helping out my New England community.

This post is a little different. I have been speaking with a Texas-based company with regards to a summer staple...barbecue, and all its glory. Specifically, dry rubs.

I have never been a fan of dry rubs, no matter how good they sound or taste. Instead, focusing on sauces. Again, this time was a little different.

I received one of each dry rub from this company and was instantly blown away by the sizes of their containers. In the back of my mind, I was hoping and praying that something would set these people apart because, being a cheap Yankee, the $10 price tag was not a draw.

This is one of those instances where you absolutely cannot judge a book by its cover......or price tag.

Rubbin' Right seemed honest, friendly and neighborly enough over the phone and email that I thought that is where it would end. I would be sent a product or two that simply didn't, or couldn't, stand out amongst the others.

I have been proven wrong more times than I can say, and I am only have way done using their rubs!

Opening each one of them up, I swear I was taking one long leap to Texas! The aroma of each one of these rubs was distinct in its own aroma and I was able to tell which was which simply through the scent of each. That was the first crucial step...just another instance of proving me wrong.

I wanted to grab these 8 ounce containers and start sprinkling them over every protein and vegetable I had laying around the house. But I wanted to treat these rubs with a little dignity and Yankee ingenuity. Anyone and everyone can dust a rib and cook it. I chose to see if they would stand up to a Yankee touch, and again, I was pleasantly surprised and proven wrong again.

I only regret that I am only halfway done with my rubs, but I also need to share my delightful experience with this companies rubs as soon as possible.

I want to add that this is by no means the last you will hear about Rubbin' Right from me. When I am completely finished with all these seasonings, I will add another post, one that is more in depth, but in the meantime I would LOVE to give a big shout out to my new neighbors, my Texas friends Chuck Wagon Sally, Big Jim and of course Sharon. They have sent me some unique, tasty and uniquely-spiced rubs that have converted me completely. And for that, I thank you. These 8 ounce containers will last me, as it will you, throughout the summer months NOT because of the number of containers I have, but because these spice blends are potent enough that a little goes a long ways. See my recipes below and take a looooooong look at their website and do as I did, order them post haste.(The leaves are starting to fall off the trees here in Maine as we speak!)


Yankee Wet Country Ribs

How much simpler can you get? Rubbin' Right hit it out of the ball park with this seasoning. Taking this amped up barbecue rub and combining it with the taste of apple is a marriage not often tasted in ribs.


4 tablespoons Rubbin' Right All-Purpose Barbecue Rub
1 tablespoon frozen, unsweetened apple juice concentrate, thawed
1 pound bone-in(optional)country-style pork ribs

Combine rub with apple juice and mix thoroughly in a large bowl. Place ribs into marinade, turning to coat. Cover and refrigerate at least 6 hours and up to 12.

When ready to cook, line a portion of your grill grate with tin foil and spray with nonstick cooking spray. Heat grill to low and place ribs on foil after shaking off excess marinade*. Close lid and cook for 1 1/2 hours, turning ribs often and basting with leftover rub mixture. Remove ribs when very tender and serve hot.


* These ribs are best cooked over indirect heat, so when lining grate with foil, try to place foil over a part of the grill where there will be no, or very little, direct flame.

Smoky Tennessee Ribs

Using oak wood chips is a great wood if you want the smokiness found in good ol' Tenessee bourbon, where they age their bourbon in oak barells. This Honey Bourbon Rub is such a great tribute to our great South, I had to use it to its' full potential, and I think you will agree these will be the hit of the picnic.


1 pound bone-in country-style pork ribs
About 2 tablespoons Rubbin' Right Honey Bourbon Rub
2 cups oak wood chips
1 1/2 cups water
1/2 cup bourbon *


Sprinkle rub evenly over all sides of the ribs and let sit at room temperature for 1 hour.
Thirty minutes before cooking, soak wood chips with bourbon and water, making sure to add water to fully cover chips.
When ready to cook/smoke, drain wood chips and place in a large piece of heavy duty(not the thin stuff)aluminum foil and seal very well, with the sealed ends facing up. Place foil pouch over the drip pan that is located between the flame of the grill and the rack. If you don't have one, simply double wrap the wood chips with another layer of foil and place directly over heat source.
Turn only a part of your grill on high, leaving some portion of your grill without a flame, and close lid. After about 5 minutes, the foil pack with smoke. This is the time to place your ribs over the part of the grill with no heat. Close lid and cook 1 1/2 hours, or until meat is well done.
Remove meat and serve hot.(DO I really need to tell you how to get rid of the foil pack?)

* If you don't want to use your bourbon for smoking, simply use all water.

Serves 2

Salisbury Spiced Burgers

Why Salisbury? Because my parents had a true Salisbury Steak at their restaurants as I was growing up, and it was simply ground beef mixed with peppers and onions. It has been my favorite "steak" ever since.


1 pound ground beef
1/4 cup minced bell pepper
1/4 cup minced onion
3 tablespoons Rubbin' Right Combination Rub
4 hamburger rolls

In a large bowl, combine ground beef, pepper and onion, mixing well. Make 4 patties and sprinkle rub on both sides of each patty evenly(Don't skimp). Cover and refrigerate for 1 hour before cooking on your grill or inside in a skillet.

I am going to tell you outright, I have added a link to this great company throughout this post, so I highly urge you to take a peak at what these people have in store for your summer outing this year.

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


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 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.....




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


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!™