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Cuisine

Cuisine - Articles


Don’t cut out mayonnaise on cold cut sub

Posted On: 6/30/16
Written By: Paul Suplee, CEC PCIII

Don’t cut out mayonnaise on cold cut sub Sometimes it just takes a good, swift kick in the arse to remind us that we may not be purging our belongings on a regular enough basis. I will admit it; I inherited my father’s garage. Needless to say, the man did not keep a clean carriage house. Quite the contrary, on most occasions it was a booby-trapped minefield that only prepared my brother and me for the obstacle courses and myriad adventures that we would encounter in the military. Piles of magazines that had not been read for years in one corner, and mountains of tools dated to the antebellum era in the other. It was not unusual to have to climb over things to get to the 7/8 inch socket wrench that you needed to fix a very specific part of your bike. It was just another day on Bayberry Drive. As I look upon the mess that is our new house, I realize that I have a deep case of the Moving Blues. We are no longer residents of Ocean Pines, and have moved up to Bishopville since we found a house for us and my mother-in-law....
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Do-it-yourself pickling primer, revisited

Posted On: 6/23/16
Written By: Paul Suplee, CEC PCIII

Do-it-yourself pickling primer, revisited This column originally ran in the June 25, 2015 issue of the Gazette. 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 the...
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Please, leave out dye in your Key lime pie

Posted On: 6/16/16
Written By: Paul Suplee, CEC PCIII

Please, leave out dye in your Key lime pie The first time that I ever ate Key lime pie was at a restaurant in Annapolis where I worked in 1984-5, a beautiful spot replete with wood-stoked fireboxes and a smoker large enough to cook 500 pounds of product with the single flip of a switch. I learned a great deal while working here. Although I already knew how to build a fire, I learned how to keep it stoked for 12 hours, how to find the hot spots on the grill, and how to prep huge sides of marlin for the smoker. Countless pounds of baby back ribs and brisket also went through that beast, and then of course there were the buffalo burgers (a marvel in 1984) and conch fritters. The menu was exciting and I enjoyed it to no end. It was a great job, but there was one problem, and that was a questionable lack of management. I was only 16 years old, and there were days on which I was the opening cook. In fact, there were days when my buddy Joe and I were the only cooks, a bold move that I never repeated as a scheduling manager later in...
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How I spent my (2010) summer vacation

Posted On: 6/9/16
Written By: Paul Suplee CEC, PCIII

How I spent my (2010) summer vacation In 2010, I was approached to help run the kitchen at the Yacht Club for the summer. I was in between semesters, they were in-between chefs and I was foolish enough to say “yes.” Hadn’t I learned my lesson from my two-and-a-half year stint as the executive chef? Wasn’t I the focus of unwanted attention at the hands of people who would much rather see the place implode into the sea than turn a profit? The papers. The forums. The complainers… Now don’t get too riled; there were many more people who were supporters, and there are still many patrons that I talk to and hug and enjoy a good cocktail with every now and then. There are so many stories, ranging from the harpoons in the attic to the code words for certain regulars and myriad weddings we would execute flawlessly. It wasn’t that we were the best; it was more to the point that we had a good system down. Sometimes, that’s all you need. The halcyon days of being the chef at the “...
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Smarter chefs, better food — start reading

Posted On: 6/2/16
Written By: Paul Suplee, CEC PCIII

Smarter chefs, better food — start reading It seems an eternity since I was a high school teacher. While I still hold many fond memories of teaching at that level, I much prefer being at the college level, where more of my students are further-intrigued about the craft of cooking. Plainly put, I can get some of them to actually read a book. I recommend books as they are invaluable tools in the expansion of our tiny minds, and while we do have the luxury of computer-assisted information gathering, it is much better to develop critical thinking skills that separate us from beast. There are so many exciting things happening in food and I look forward to reading, picking people’s brains and otherwise never stopping my own education. When I was helping with the AGH Gala for Liquid Assets last week, I was fortunate enough to cook with Nino and Toby (LA and Gilbert’s Provisions, respectively). It was refreshing to work with chefs again who most likely have their nose buried in a book at least a few times a month as was ...
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Just say ‘no’ to TV chefs, ‘yes’ to truffle salt

Posted On: 5/26/16
Written By: Paul Suplee, CEC PCIII

Food Television: The nemesis to any good chef, and the bastion of misinformation for two generations of viewers and connoisseurs of fine dining. The sanctimonious airs of hosts on the now-many food channels drives me insane, but we have to live with it as it is now a part of our culture. To be fair, I will give accolades to one cooking show and that is “Master Chef Jr.,” where young (and sometimes very young) kids try their hand in the kitchen while getting mentored by world-class chefs. I like this show because the hosts seem to be a bit more real and personable than in the other shows, but don’t even get me started on the silly shows like “Hell’s Kitchen,” “Chopped,” or any of the other myriad shows that are much more about entertainment than actual cooking. Recently I was flipping through the channels when I came across an “editorial” by one of the main hosts for Food TV who was lecturing us, the lowly viewers, on using t...
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Coffee, cheese, more coffee essential

Posted On: 5/19/16
Written By: Paul Suplee, CEC PCIII

Coffee, cheese, more coffee essential For the love of all that’s holy, someone get me a cup of coffee. Nay, bring me a tankard – a thermos of joe. Just load me up with one of those one-gallon carafes and I’ll be on my way. My body is buzzing, and I can’t figure out why I’m coming unraveled. I’m supposed to be catching up on rest and relaxation now that the semester is over, but somehow it’s getting worse. My elbows ache, I blew out my bicep muscle and somehow I managed to crease my little toe yesterday at work to a point where it hurts to walk. What in Hades is happening to me? It’s almost as though this aging thing is real, but I refuse to accept that. It must be something else. I remember as a teenager telling my parents that I would never grow old, and they would laugh. My invincibility was a silly notion to them as they were once invincible in their own rights, although when they themselves were invincible, films were still in black and white and World War I was a thi...
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Beware of bombastic ‘Buckeye’ Zealots

Posted On: 5/12/16
Written By: Paul Suplee, CEC PCIII

Beware of bombastic ‘Buckeye’ Zealots To clarify, she was rude to me first. Maybe she saw the Maryland tags, or perhaps it was the forlorn looks on our faces as we were obviously in the middle of a long road trip. Or in hindsight, had the cashier found herself victim to countless miserable drivers who had to pull off of the highway as torrential rains made it impossible to pass the mountain roads safely? Regardless of the reason why, she drew first blood. My kids and I were on our way to the Midwest and stopped at a Cracker Bucket (name changed to protect the innocent) to buy some oversized, Jumbo Smarties – one of my all-time favorites. As the ‘Barrel’ is the only place that I know to procure them, it was a fairly easy decision, especially considering that the ‘frog strangler’ in which we found ourselves made any forward movement treacherous at best. Before we even had a chance to get through the door, the cashier told my kids not to touch anything unless they wanted to buy it. I haven̵...
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Take your chances with unconquerable BBQ

Posted On: 5/5/16
Written By: Paul Suplee, CEC PCIII

Take your chances with unconquerable BBQ There are times in a man’s life when he must face his biggest challenges head-on, or more to the point, incisors-on. Into the bargain, it is in these great times of conquest that he must prepare himself by having a hefty roll of paper towels at his side. Otherwise, all will be lost. I had such a moment in St. Louis last week as I faced off with a sandwich at Sugarfire that was not only cunningly christened bearing in mind the presence of 40,000 nerds, but would also be the impetus for my inner debate of great food v. health. I am getting old, after all. If you remember as far back as two years ago, I was in Kansas City and I wrote about five days of meat-sweats summoned by steaks and marrow at Anton’s, burgers and fries cooked in lard at Town Topic, and of course the burnt ends and ribs at Oklahoma Joe’s. Above all I’ve missed the Midwest BBQ joints, and as I have been in St. Louis for the past three years with our robotics team at championships, I should ha...
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Feasting on dinner of tasty sirloin filets

Posted On: 4/28/16
Written By: Paul Suplee, CEC PCIII

Feasting on dinner of tasty sirloin filets (Reprinted from March 6, 2014 issue) I love my children so much that I decided to call a snow day on our youngest daughter’s 13th birthday. Not only was it a great snow day, but it was in March. I’ll do what I can to make my kids happy. I’m sure I’ll have to pay the big guy back some day for the snowstorm, but by any means possible… Unfortunately, her birthday also coincided with our annual ‘tax day’, the day on which we knock out a good amount of the dreaded deed of paying the Tax Man. This year, extenuating circumstances forced us to work things out on Gabbie’s birthday, but it was still a day off and that’s pretty amazing, I’d say. The next day, however, it was time to get back to business and end the day with what we believe could have very well been the first meal of 2014 at our own dining room table. It is hard to believe that we are in March already, and shame on us for stepping away from our evening ritual of meetin...
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