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Cuisine - Articles


For chef, Catholic school was icing on cake

Posted On: 7/30/15
Written By: Paul Suplee, CEC PCIII

For chef, Catholic school was icing on cake It’s hard to believe that we have our first Sweet 16 party this year. Oh, how the years fly by – that outplayed, ubiquitous saying that everyone over the age of 40 must proclaim. At least when I think of my daughter, and in fact all of our kids, I can’t help but to be amazed at how intelligent they are; how much further ahead than I was at their age. And now I have to bake a chocolate cake and ice it before I go to bed. I believe I’ve written about my three years at St. Mary’s High School in Annapolis in the 80s, and how I still truly believe that Catholic school is the only reason that I’m still alive. Suffice it to say that I was not a stellar student through my middle school years, and my late parents felt it wise to remove me from my friends and devices; in hindsight, not a bad plan. St. Mary’s is where I met some of my best lifelong friends. It’s where I sauntered during lunch to Eastport and found my first job at the Chart House....
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When forced to cook, Reuben never fails

Posted On: 7/23/15
Written By: Paul Suplee, CEC PCIII

When forced to cook, Reuben never fails It is often said that a chef’s favorite food is anything that he doesn’t have to cook himself. I have personally subscribed to that tenet for years and it was no different as I went to meet a friend of mine last week for lunch at Sneaky Pete’s last week; the dock bar at Hooper’s on the Bay. The breeze was perfect on that smoking-hot day as was the entertainment, which was kayakers – more precisely people kayaking for what was likely the first time – in the strong currents off of Skimmer Island. Charter boats would motor up-current, shut down and then drift with lines cast-out for flounder. It was a nice reminder as to why this is such a beautiful place to live. As I was eating my Key West Reuben, my buddy asked if the family was still going to Hawaii in the near future. When I replied in the affirmative, he laughed and shook his head. When I inquired as to the basis for his amusement, he merely stated that he was concerned for me, as I am still as ...
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Fresh chips and salsa go great with summer

Posted On: 7/16/15
Written By: Paul Suplee, CEC PCIII

Fresh chips and salsa go great with summer Reprinted from Bayside Gazette July 17, 2014 As voices echo through our little street, a feeling of summer, fun and family runs through me like an electric current. It’s a wonderful thing as a parent to have a flash of memory back to the days of my own childhood; a prevailing feeling of worth as I remember the emotions that I attached to certain events in my life and that I now share with my children. Years ago as we played at the water’s edge, I was teaching my kids how to dig deep enough to reach the tide line, in essence making your own pool at the ocean.  Something that my father taught me in the early 1970s, it was a laughable concept to my friend who was visiting from out of town. He brushed it off as nonsense, but as I taught my kids, you could see bewilderment in his eyes as the bottom of the hole began to fill with water. Move forward a few years and our next scene is our home. I took my kids outside at dusk to teach them how to summon the bats, those ether...
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Strawberry shortcake ‘refreshing’ in summer

Posted On: 7/9/15
Written By: Paul Suplee, CEC PCIIi

Strawberry shortcake ‘refreshing’ in summer Reprinted from July 10, 2014 issue. Every now and then, the near-100 degree temperatures merit a little outside-time.  I don’t mind sweating a little since it means that I have a good deal of the season left; we get a little reprieve from the minus-10 degrees that graced our shores a mere few months ago.  And, let’s be honest, taking my first summer off since 1983 has been a nice respite to catch up on things. An assortment of music plays in the background, and the gentlest breeze blows across my back porch.  The only note of interest today is the pile of tree pieces from what is apparently the only tree to have fallen in the lamest hurricane in Ocean City history: Arthur.  And of course it fell in my yard.  So it goes when you live at the beach where root balls are 2 feet deep and 10 feet around.  Where else would a tree go but down? Tonight feels like it will be a good night for one of my favorite cakes from the days of yore; the halcyo...
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When things get squirrelly, go with Coke

Posted On: 7/2/15
Written By: Paul Suplee, PC CECIII

When things get squirrelly, go with Coke As I sit here eating my mild carnitas tacos, I reminisce of a day not too long ago. It was Christmas 2014. The air was crisp, and I was outside sitting on the front porch enjoying my spoils of war. The dog was prancing around the yard in an effort to find a suitable toilet when she came to a complete standstill. As soon as she did, and before I saw that which had grabbed her attention, I heard a deliberate and ominous “flawp, flawp, flawp!” I looked up just in time to see a monstrous hawk swooping onto the branch of the tree that was nine feet away from me and nine feet up, which Pythagoras tells us put a mere 12.7 feet between me and this magnificent beast. If you’ve never been this close to a mature hawk, suffice it to say I could feel her talons and her piercing glare. I cannot lie; it was a touch unnerving. In her talons was a squirrel, no longer of the living, and I’m not sure whether the raptor lost her grip or whether it was a Christmas gift, but the sq...
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Little effort goes long way in pickling

Posted On: 6/25/15
Written By: Paul Suplee, CEC PCIII

Little effort goes long way in pickling It’s nice to see that most stores are carrying pickling cucumbers in the produce section. That part of the culinary world has picked up nicely.  Every site and book out there would be remiss if they were to leave out this old and venerable practice.  I teach pickling at school and it is an important part of the restaurant industry, as are smoking and curing.  They’re all the rage, as the kids like to say. Making your own pickles is a lot easier than most of us chefs will let on, but I’m not going to write about that necessarily, as I just wrote about pickled mustard seeds and pickled onions recently.   But do yourself the favor of practicing on some easy items such as pickled mustard, pickled onions et al. OK, break my arm; I’ll talk about pickling again.  Pickling can be as easy as pouring boiling vinegar, sugar, salt and garlic on sliced cucumbers letting them sit overnight.  It can be as easy as simmering vinegar, sugar an...
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Chicken tender sandwich with chorizo

Posted On: 6/18/15
Written By: Paul Suplee, CEC PCIII

Chicken tender sandwich with chorizo As the season wears on, I sit on my back deck reminiscing the awful winter that we just experienced. It’s hard for me to get too upset about the heat for that reason and also I guess because I have spent so many years in professional kitchens, hot and sticky have been the order of the day for most of my adult life. Standing on the back deck of the restaurant last night, I was rewarded with a lightning show from the storm that blew over the southern part of the peninsula. We didn’t get a drop of rain in Bethany, but the show was enough. Now that I think about it, I never heard a single clap of thunder, but I can only imagine that it happened, as the show was so magnificent. Set against a backdrop of haze and clouds and what appeared to be some fog north of the storm, it amplified the magnitude of each lightning bolt as it either reached across the sky or touched down as it came in contact with the ground. It was something out of a book. Now as I sit on the back deck, and ...
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Black garlic spread goes great with lox

Posted On: 6/11/15
Written By: Paul Suplee, CEC PCIII

Black garlic spread goes great with lox What a whirlwind the past two weeks have been. It’s nice to be back behind the wheel again, not managing anyone or anything and just cooking; well, shucking is more like it. And deciding that I didn’t have enough to do, I accepted an invitation to work with some good friends of mine, chefs up in Rehoboth, as we cooked lunch for 400 kids at the Sussex Academy. After cooking and shredding two hundred pounds of beef and chicken, we were still looking forward to eating it; that’s precisely how good it was. Done with the school lunch, it was time to get back to work. Yes, finally, it was time to pull out the lox that Chef Jason Diettrich had been curing for a number of days. They look delicious and we’re excited to see how they came out. Of course we knew that the salmon would be delicious, but when you cure anything such as lox or bacon, there’s so much idle time that you can’t help but to think of the little things that you may not have done correctl...
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Bacon-deviled eggs ‘mystically wonderful’

Posted On: 6/4/15
Written By: Paul Suplee CEC PCIII

Bacon-deviled eggs ‘mystically wonderful’  It is nice sometimes to take a step backwards and reacquaint oneself with skillsets that seem to have eluded us. Truth be told, chefs work hard, but as has been noted by aging chefs such as Anthony Bourdain, you just get to the point where the body doesn’t recover like it used to. Even so, chefs still spend a great deal of time on their feet and the mental anguish of being the social worker, hirer, firer, disciplinarian, food order and receiving personnel and kitchen maintenance only adds to the tiresome nature of the job. Regardless, most of us wouldn’t have it any other way. We know what the business is about: long hours, working weekends and holidays, great customers and guests and rewards that are hard to explain. And all of this in a mere 55-80 hours per week. Known to take management positions in the summertime over the past seven summers, I decided not to take that route this season, instead opting to shuck for an amazing little restaurant in Bethany for the...
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Tired after holiday? Get out your grill

Posted On: 5/28/15
Written By: Paul Suplee, CEC PCIII

Tired after holiday? Get out your grill Another Memorial Day has passed, and while the crux of the weekend is to memorialize those who have fallen in service to this great nation, it also means the beginning of summer. We must never forget why the day exists and what it stands for, and I hope that many of you were able to celebrate it both patriotically and ceremoniously. Our family celebrates the Day in our own private way, and we also usher in the new summer in ways that are reminiscent of most people on this glorious holiday, on which we had the nicest weather I could remember. I worked a couple days at the club to help out a little bit and then took our two kids, who happen to love roller coasters, to Busch Gardens for one big hurrah. It was magnificent. I only wish that I had a FitBit or something else that would have measured how much walking we did. At the end of our full 11 hours in the park, we could barely walk. And then I had to drive three hours home. It was a very – and I mean very – long drive. ...
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