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Hearty Hangtown Fry similar to frittata

Posted On: 4/3/14
Written By: Paul Suplee, CEC PCIII

Hearty Hangtown Fry similar to frittata Hearty food.  Nothing is better than hearty food on a day like today.  The winter breeze, the door frozen to the frame of the car and the thought that spring will someday be upon us. But I write this over a week after Spring has sprung.  I think of warmer days, and my thoughts turn to reality as I look at the young blossoms on some of the trees and the flowers that have already shot up through the dirt to make their presence known. We only have a few more days, if not a week, during which we can brag about making the hearty home-cooked meals that sustain us in the chillier months.  So I will get one last hearty meal in and try to stay true to form in moving into lighter, healthier meals as the season progresses. When I wake up in the morning, I would rather eat a plate of steak and eggs or dinner leftovers than what most people consider ‘breakfast’; processed cereals, oatmeal et al. I often think of the Vietnamese street vendors (no, I’ve never...
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Merguez sausage fairly simple to make

Posted On: 3/27/14
Written By: Paul Suplee, CEC PCIII

Merguez sausage fairly simple to make Today was curing, smoking and barbecue day at school and it ushered in the strangest snow storm of all; not a bad way to spend a Tuesday. Students made duck pastrami (to be smoked the next day), Andouille sausage and pepperoni. The latter is hanging in the walk-in after a dip in potassium sorbate, which keeps it from molding up and growing the nasty bacteria that can find its way into cured foods. We will have to wait 20 days before braving the pepperoni, but the duck pastrami and Andouille can be tried tomorrow. That makes for an exciting day. Never one to shy away from making sausages, I pulled out some leg of lamb and made a small mountain of Merguez, one of my absolute favorites. A spicy, tangy Moroccan favorite that has found its way around the globe, Merguez is traditionally made from lamb, garlic and warming spices. It is a fairly simple sausage to make, and as my students learned today, it can be pretty fun. I could open a salami shop with little persuasion; I enjoy doing ...
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No limits to mother’s creativity in kitchen

Posted On: 2/27/14
Written By: Paul Suplee, CEC PCIII

No limits to mother’s creativity in kitchen We knew it was inevitable.  Mom’s passing was an event that we all dreaded but understood given the many years she was blessed to be here.  She had a smile, a wit and a charisma that lit up a room.  The humor groomed over 86 years, a 43-year marriage, eight children, 17 grandchildren and six great- grandchildren was warped to say the least. It was good to be the youngest of eight children; the baby, the caboose.  By the time I came around, our parents were fairly well spent.  I believe her moniker for me and my two older brothers was The Terrible Three.  With the help of my older brothers and sisters, I turned into the man I am today.  In hindsight, I guess I can blame them too, can’t I? When I was in my teens I had a case of empty beer cans under my bed since my parents came home from a weekend trip early.  Being me, as many of you here know, I saw a squirrel and forgot about the cans.  On Tuesday my dad came in and lectured m...
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Learning to cook requires practice, patience

Posted On: 2/20/14
Written By: Paul Suplee, CEC PCIII

Learning to cook requires practice, patience (Reprinted from Feb. 21, 2013 issue) Bram Stoker wrote that “we learn of great things by little experiences” and you would be hard pressed to find any aspect of life to which that philosophy doesn’t apply. In the kitchen, we often find ourselves overwhelmed by learning how to cook, a concept that is further removed from society than ever before due to the convenience products aplenty. All we have to do is go to the store, buy pre-made product, heat and serve. I know this to be true for three reasons. Firstly, as we walk down the freezer aisle of the largest supermarket we can find, we are presented with a dizzying array of colors and images designed and developed to lure us into their trap. Secondly, there simply isn’t enough time in many people’s lives to cook a fresh-scratch meal every day of the week. Thirdly, I do it myself. People regularly approach me to ask me the best manner in which to tackle the skills of cookery and nourishment. The only thin...
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Flat iron steak for a successful dinner

Posted On: 2/13/14
Written By: Paul Suplee, CEC PCIII

Flat iron steak for a successful dinner Plans do not always come together; that is the way of it.  Eventually things always seem to get done.  Whether it’s getting the kids off to school or trying to knock out schoolwork, there’s always that one phone call.  That one friendly stop in the supermarket where you end up talking to an old friend for half an hour. Then the deadlines creep up on you. Sensing that this was going to be a busy year, I have tried to stay organized and well managed, but then I end up reverting to the ‘good lord, I need more time in my day’ routine. At the end of such a day, we need to sit down, take a breather, and enjoy a hearty and filling meal.  With my myriad projects, the aforementioned hearty meal end up being a fast food meal, truly a disgraceful meal when compared with what could be had at home. Luckily, I asked to be on the selection committee for the new club’s management hiring team.  As such, I get to sit in on the selection proces...
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Even with ravioli, it takes a little practice

Posted On: 2/7/14
Written By: Paul Suplee, CEC PCIII

Even with ravioli, it takes a little practice One of the pleasures of teaching is watching a kitchen full of qualified students tackle something new and different.  The easiest and most accurate way to determine whether a competency is not in the students’ repertoires is by noting the condition of the kitchen at the end of class. Today happened to be such a day; our student aide made the comment that she was pretty sure that the class used every pot, pan and bowl in our inventory. When the smoke cleared and the ashes settled from the onslaught, what we found was a variety of ravioli, agnolotti, Cornish pasties and tri-color pasta; all from scratch. One student stuffed his artisanal pieces with lamb curry while another made a chicken-basil stuffing.  Since we had food in the walk-in that needed to be used after the nightmare of scheduling through the recent school days, I decided to let them have at it when it came to their fillings. Fresh pasta is one of the greatest foods to master in the ...
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Dip potatoes fried in duck fat in Remoulade

Posted On: 1/30/14
Written By: Paul Suplee, CEC PCIII

Dip potatoes fried in duck fat in Remoulade Every now and then we see something in class that brings back vivid memories associated with food; memories rushing through our minds as images just seem to come together in our imagination.    Recently, as one of our students, Bob, made a fresh remoulade, I tasted it and was immediately transported to countless late nights of the Frenchiest French Fries I had the pleasure of enjoying.  I can’t even remember the name of the place in East Baltimore but it was always jumping and their fryers could not keep up with them. Fried in rendered duck fat (buy online from a variety of vendors) and then topped with fresh herbes de provence and truffle salt, they are only improved by the presence of a side of remoulade.  They go well paired with anything from Iced tea to beer to wine.  Of course, I would go with the beer with these but that is your call. Remoulade is a close cousin to tartar sauce and in many restaurants the name is used interchangeably.  Trut...
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Blackened tuna with mushroom-onion relish

Posted On: 1/23/14
Written By: Paul Suplee, CEC PCIII

Blackened tuna with mushroom-onion relish The whirling of angle grinders and computer hard drives are matched by the raised voices of teenagers as they make, mend and tweak their robot during the third week of the six-week build.  Pencils and markers are always on hand as solutions to this year’s challenge are drawn, scribbled and tweaked; redrawn or thrown away in frustration and then finally realized. It is amazing what can happen when the power of collaboration is put into play.  With some amazing partners in this year’s robotics race, and the ability of our own sub-teams to work together, we are all of a sudden looking at a functional piece of machinery that didn’t exist three weeks ago. As the build days tend to be long, we keep snack foods on hand. On the busier days, DeNovo’s gives us a mountain of food to feed the brains as they exhaust themselves in the programming and machining processes. With other things in our lives, and beyond the days on which food comes from our sponsor, r...
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Grilled scallops with lemon-chervil gastrique

Posted On: 1/16/14
Written By: Paul Suplee, CEC PCIII

Grilled scallops with lemon-chervil gastrique There is simply nothing in this world that can’t be fixed by listening to the theme of “The Benny Hill Show” sans video.  Having run across it this week for the first time in eons, I giggled - chortled even - as the saxophone blurted out the ridiculous and inspirational melodies known to so many, reminding us of simpler times in a long gone age. Without the nonsensical visual stop-motion of Benny et al running amok in the intro of the show, it is easy to imagine the silliest of scenes in one’s own mind as the song blurts through its short lifespan. The man himself, Benny Hill that is, was a genius in his heyday.  From his eponymous sketch comedy to “Chitty Chitty Bang Bang” he entertained as few did in the business. Sometimes it is the light and playful that brings us down to earth.  When we realize that we have been taking ourselves a little too seriously, a small touch of humor, or something just a little afar from the norm, goes ...
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Cook your dinner from scratch, Suplee says

Posted On: 1/9/14
Written By: Paul Suplee, CEC PCIII

Cook your dinner from scratch, Suplee says We were watching television the other day as my wife and I had a little kid-free down time to enjoy some random shows.  Truth be told, we didn’t have the remote, weren’t in any hurry to get up and weren’t really paying attention to the telly since we were talking. I made the comment that digital cameras have seemed to make every kid a photographer.  Phones with 40 megapixel cameras do most of the average teenager’s pictographic grunt work that would have taken Ansel Adams days to accomplish.  Most don’t understand the composition and lighting that makes for truly artistic photography (No, I do not consider myself in this category so settle down), but how many photography pages have you seen crop up online overnight?  Come on, be honest.    I then mused that software suites have made it possible for anyone to be a web designer (albeit not a formidable one, but you get the point).  Other applications made it easy for peop...
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