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Cuisine

Cuisine - Articles


Play with your food: making ‘ants on a log’

Posted On: 9/22/16
Written By: Paul Suplee, CEC PCIII

Play with your food: making ‘ants on a log’ I was trying to doze off, having had a very long day. Things usually happen in threes, as they say, and the third event was merely a warm-up for the fourth and fifth mighty dealings that weighed heavily on my shoulders. But, hey, it’s all part of this adulting thing, something that I try to avoid like the plague. I had only been sitting in my recliner (my God, I’m starting to sound like my father) for a few minutes when the food gods smiled on me to usher me off to sleep. Having neglected to eat a decent lunch or dinner, I had just partaken in a late-night nosh of thick schmears of mayonnaise and spicy mustard on salami rollups. They hit the spot, and it was time to get some rest for the onslaught that was sure to be in my life the next day. But just as I was about to meet the Sandman, a thought occurred to me and I started to nod my head in that “Yeah, that would be a great combo” type of way. You see, similar to the great Anton Ego from “Ratatouille,...
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Whole lobster, while pricey, has many uses

Posted On: 9/15/16
Written By: Paul Suplee, CEC PCIII

Whole lobster, while pricey, has many uses Lobster, sweet lobster. To me, eating a freshly dispatched one takes me back in my memories to a rocky bank in Massachusetts with the smell of seaweed and ocean permeating my senses. At the same time, I fly back to Kauai where I was snorkeling at Tunnels Beach a year and a half ago. On one especially fruitful trip over a chunky part of the second reef, I noticed the tiniest of “wiggles” in my periphery. Doing a 180, I swam back over the crevice to stare face to face with a huge reef lobster. I floated there, wondering if I should reach into the hole and grab it, since it was easily three to four pounds. However, common sense reeled me back in as I knew how powerful lobsters can be in the wild (and downright ornery). In hindsight I’m still glad that I was able to keep my bravado in check. I swam back to shore empty-handed, but the next time we go I will buy a lobster snare. Alas, I simply had to go without. Reality dictates that we don’t eat too much lobster ...
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Remembrance of (camping) things past

Posted On: 9/1/16
Written By: Paul Suplee, CEC PCIII

Remembrance of (camping) things past My wife and daughters have always been more than happy and willing to go camping – as long as there’s air conditioning and beds. And a shower. Oh, and shopping is a plus as well. As much of a blow as this may have been to my inner-camper, as of late I’ve been reminiscing the many trips we took to the Skyline Drive and Blue Ridge Mountains in my youth. They were regular stomping grounds, and while they will always hold a special place in my heart, I now sit back and wonder if I truly liked it while it was actually happening, or if I have internally revised those trips into halcyon memories. For one, I constantly went to bed sweaty and always woke up in the middle of the night shivering from the mountain chill from head to toe. Basically, for two-to-four weeks a summer, I never really slept except for the seldom evening on which the mountain breeze was cool without being cold. Of course my favorite part was the campfire, something that we emulate in our own back yard...
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Israeli couscous absorbs immense flavor

Posted On: 8/25/16
Written By: Paul Suplee, CEC PCIII

Israeli couscous absorbs immense flavor Almost as though it was too much to ask for (my apologies for ending an opening statement with a preposition; you’ll simply have to bear with me), we suddenly received the cool weather so many people were so desperately seeking out. And my feet, sitting atop the bricks in our tiki bar, are cold. Yes, cold. It was almost as though the heat waves of July and August were and are mere figments of our imagination, leaving us to wonder whether there will even be any more pool days this year. I know; shudder to think. I sit here at midnight, looking past the string lights onto the yard filled with banana leaves and hibiscus flowers bigger than my head, and I try to imagine myself back in the islands, with the cool trade winds taking care of any sunburn that I might have gotten in the day. I am a towhead after all and it doesn’t take much for me to go from pink to lobster. In fact, it’s rather instantaneous, and it’s a trait that I have passed on to some of my offspr...
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Enjoy beautiful bounty of produce stands

Posted On: 8/18/16
Written By: Paul Suplee, CEC PCIII

Enjoy beautiful bounty of produce stands Chefs are a different breed of people. We are bizarre, and often try to convince others that there is a romance or mystique about our career. In fact, there is nothing more mysterious about us than the fact that when we’re done cooking, we still have to scrub the floor, wipe out the floor drains, scrape the goo from the inside of the reach-in refrigerator and scrape everything from the tabletop. It has been documented many times over, but it always seems like there’s that one container of food that gets away from you, and by the time you find it, sometimes it is better just to throw the entire thing out, but I digress. But, cooking does not need to be difficult. I can’t tell you how many times I heard that growing up, but as cooks, chefs and culinarians we are always trying to muddle the waters in an effort to bring our guests complicated dishes with subtle nuances of impossibility and the unlikelihood that it can be easily reproduced. Sure, there comes a time when...
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Reel in some Reel Inn-sourced shrimp tacos

Posted On: 8/11/16
Written By: Paul Suplee, CEC PCIII

Reel in some Reel Inn-sourced shrimp tacos Damn it all. I just got home from a grueling, hot and sweaty day at the Reel Inn, as I’m working the White Marlin Open again, but fret not. I love working this event, but it does wear heavy on my old and weary bones. I’m simply not the man I used to be. I love working this singular week of mayhem, seeing old friends from as far away as Baltimore and Annapolis, such as the inimitable Sean Leahy and teachers and friends from down here, such as Chad, Misty et al, as well as the owners of the Reel Inn, Spunky and Angie. In reality I only see them once a year or so, so it’s always a great family reunion of sorts. But this is not my dilemma. No, I’m upset that at the end of the day I jumped into the pool to bighead for my 11-year-old, who was quite happy to see me. You see, the deepest part of my pool in a meager four-feet deep. Yes, I decided for some unknown reason that a pencil dive was appropriate to show off for a kid who was spraying me with ice-cold water a...
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For perfect sear, aim for just ‘short of hell’

Posted On: 8/4/16
Written By: Paul Suplee, CEC PCIII

For perfect sear, aim for just ‘short of hell’ It was difficult to watch the videos of flooding in Ellicott City last week. My wife, Julie, worked at a hospital there for a couple years, so we drove down Main Street every weekday as I would drive her to work. The picturesque scenery was always a soft spot in the terrible rush hour traffic. Flooding like that happens every 50 or 60 years or so, and that doesn’t surprise me with the manner in which Main Street was designed; everything flows down into the valley. Given a massive storm such as the one last week, the devastating effect can be seen the world over in our social media-filled lives. I think it was a day or two later that we had our storms down here, albeit nothing to the tune of Baltimore last week. Compounded with the sinkhole on Route 90, it was nigh impossible to make it onto the island and get home in one piece. Yes, the storm made a mess of things, but I’m glad that it’s mostly cosmetic and that we don’t have the massive cleanup and damage c...
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Going bananas over leaf-wrapped seafood

Posted On: 7/28/16
Written By: Paul Suplee, CEC PCIII

Going bananas over leaf-wrapped seafood I think my buddy Jay wanted to smack me upside the head. He was helping me run some outlets at the new house, and specifically a primary one for my commercial smoker. As he is from Hawaii, he kept looking at our garden while saying “bro.” I would calmly and ignorantly say “what?” to which he just ran his hand down the banana leaves. “Bro, you do realize you get to cook with these, right?” I had been looking at these banana plants for weeks now, but quite honestly I saw them as nothing more than tropical, decorative plants. After a short lesson by Jay on Japanese-hybrid banana plants, I was even more excited to live in our new house. We use banana leaves quite a bit at school when I teach South and Central Americana cuisine, as well as Asian cuisine. Hawaiian Kalua pork, Filipino Suman, Salvadoran tamales et al all grace our tables throughout the school year, and yet I was staring down the business end of these magnificent plants for all of this ti...
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Bacon fry bread with fermented garlic

Posted On: 7/21/16
Written By: Paul Suplee, CEC PCIII

Bacon fry bread with fermented garlic I hit the snooze button at 4:30 a.m. and it scratched me. I smacked it again 10 minutes later, hoping to get just another moment of respite, when it hissed and pounced off of my chest. Mayhap I wasn’t drumming the snooze button at all. There is nothing that will get you out of bed quicker than an irritable mouser reminding you exactly who is in charge of the den, especially when your own wits are dimmed by a poor night’s sleep. Today was a big day as it was time to go back to Baltimore for an important meeting, so I had to make sure not to fall back into slumber. As my feline timekeeper is more reliable than my phone – the latter being a tool that mysteriously renders itself to vibrate every night at midnight so that I can’t hear it – I was up and ready to go before the misses had a chance to turn the light on. Two points for the little bastard. After a successful, but tiring roundtrip to Mob Town, Julie and I ended up back in the hood, with her settled...
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Simple summer snack: chips and salsa

Posted On: 7/14/16
Written By: Paul Suplee, CEC PCIII

Simple summer snack: chips and salsa This column originally ran on 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 ...
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