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Cuisine - Articles

Forget myth; oysters are always in season

Posted On: 10/1/15
Written By: Paul Suplee, CEC PCIII

Forget myth; oysters are always in season Oysters; one of the many bounties of the Chesapeake. Mysterious mollusks whose introduction to the human race was probably at the hands of a river otter banging one open on its chest. I don’t know that this particular version of history is completely accurate, but I’m sure that however it happened, it was a very long time ago. Either way, oysters are delicious almost anytime, anywhere, or at least that is exactly what oyster lovers such as myself are fond of saying. But, isn’t there a catch, you might ask? Well there is, or at least that’s what old-wives-tales would have you believe. Have you ever heard the saying that you can’t eat oysters during months that don’t end in the letter “r”? While I have heard this since 1983, it didn’t cross my mind for years how we were still selling oysters in Annapolis during the summer by the wheelbarrow-full and we’re still doing it today. But, how can that be? You see, red tide is an awf...
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For perfect pasta, ‘00’ flour essential

Posted On: 9/24/15
Written By: Paul Suplee, PC CECIII

For perfect pasta, ‘00’ flour essential REPRINTED FROM SEPT. 25, 2014 There are times when something just strikes my fancy and today marked one of those spells. Walking through the kitchen after straightening out the walk-in, I remembered my days in   Baltimore, cooking in some good restaurants. One such place was the Polo Grill by Johns Hopkins University. The chef was very talented and the menu changed daily, a task that I personally would never undertake in an a la carte facility. We learned some great techniques at The Polo Grill and as I reminisced, I realized that I had not made squid ink pasta in years. Recalling that I now had the aforementioned cephalopod-goo on hand, it became a no-brainer. It was time to play. So, grabbing the 00 Flour and the squid ink, I headed for the nearest stand mixer. The flour is a special, finely ground product that lends itself well to pasta. If you make fresh pasta as much as I do, you will immediately tell the difference as the pasta from 00 flour will be tender and have a...
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‘Old Dough’ goes great on grilled pizza

Posted On: 9/10/15
Written By: Paul Suplee, CEC PCIII

‘Old Dough’ goes great on grilled pizza The kids are back in school, the grilling season is over for most (bite your tongue), and as I’m fond of saying, it’s now time to start getting ready for next summer! My wife and kids are thrilled that the season of the pumpkin is among us, and I guess to a certain extent I’m pretty excited for the treats that come to us in the fall. Pumpkin ‘everything’ from latte to coffee to pie to cookies to cakes to cake pops to white-chocolate truffles to… I just went into sugar overload just writing that. Shaking myself out of my hypochondriacal diabetic fit, I get back to the task at hand, which is having a little fun making a special treat on the grill; grilled pizza. I wrote about grilled Piadina years ago, the little Italian sandwich squeezed in a mini-grilled pizza crust, and this is just the grown-up version. Simply make some pizza dough (preferably well- ahead of time) and roll it out. Here comes the tricky part, but after you do it a few times, y...
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Bacon-wrapped hot dogs are home runs

Posted On: 9/3/15
Written By: Paul Suplee, PC CEC III

Bacon-wrapped hot dogs are home runs Our house is full of children tonight, and there is a nervous laughter in the air. Sleepovers always end up in total mayhem around here, but tonight has hit the kids like a freight train. Rather, the realization that next week the pain train will be rolling down the track at full speed. School starts next week, you see, which makes this week one of the least favorite in our house. With the school year comes a frenzy of maddening schedules, oft-conflicting, and participation in myriad clubs and associations that we don’t even know exist as of yet. “Wait, you signed up for what? And they meet when?” will be a common phrase next week. But somehow we will manage to pull the schedules together and quickly (and against our wills) start treating every day in the manner in which I wrote about a few years ago. Every day in the school year feels like prepping for a military insertion exercise. We know our windows of opportunity, we understand our mission and goals, and nine t...
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Overcooking fresh fish akin to crime

Posted On: 8/20/15
Written By: Paul Suplee, CEC PC III

Overcooking fresh fish akin to crime Suffering from a bit of jet lag this week, I am trying to get back in the groove.  Understanding that I am on east coast time and that I’m back at work, there is no excuse for not getting up on time. But, there have been a couple days where the kids and I have slept until noon, a strange occurrence in our house. Getting ready for the school year is always an interesting task; adding new projects and tweaking existing ones all add up to keep a person on their toes. And the time goes by way too quickly. Mix in a little time zone discrepancy and it becomes easy to see how one’s schedule could get a little messed up. Wanting to not let go of our Hawaiian experience, I made a big batch of chicken barbecue and Kalua pork, the latter being a shredded pork with (don’t judge me) liquid smoke. Now, I smoke a great deal of pork product throughout the year, but every time that I have eaten Kalua pork in the Islands, it has been made with liquid smoke, so I try to keep it t...
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Chef envisions perfect day for breadfruit

Posted On: 8/13/15
Written By: Paul Suplee, CEC PCIII

Chef envisions perfect day for breadfruit I sat on my board off of Poi’pu in Kauai County, soaking it all in while waiting for a set to come in. This was my first time to the South Shore and in fact our first time to this island and so far it has not disappointed. Typical to Kauai was the tropical sunshine to the east and a torrential downpour to the west; a mere six feet away from me. The rain lasted about two minutes as it usually does and then a rainbow surfaced on the ocean from end to end, an inspirational sight. At this point I was wearing a long-sleeve rash guard since I, as a towhead in the tropics, have had enough sun for the year. I don’t necessarily tan, you see; I go from pink to coral, but I ramble. Wildlife thrived on the reef, with the water clear enough to see the Reef Triggerfish, Butterflyfish, barracuda, needlefish et al, and as I dove under the waves it resembled nothing of Assateague, as much as I love our little pony-filled hamlet. To top it all off – to make this the most magical o...
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Fondly remembering (cobb) salad days

Posted On: 8/6/15
Written By: Paul Suplee CEC PCIII

Fondly remembering (cobb) salad days Sometimes you find yourself in an airport that is about as organized as an old episode of Keystone Cops. I’ve had my share of disorganization, especially after that fateful day that ushered in the mighty TSA. Finished with our convention this weekend, it was time to say goodbye to the torrential downpours of Orlando and head home. Shuttling to Orlando’s international air hub was simple enough, and retrieving my bags from the back of the van proved equally as stress-free. The kind and professional ticket agents were moving the line at breakneck pace, and my heart and soul were full of hope; hope that I would be able to get a bite to eat before the plane took off. Southwest Airlines had delivered again, with smiles, courtesy and expediency at the ready. And then I rounded the corner. Those of us who travel more than a little know the feeling of dismay when things are going so well only to end in such a trammel. The TSA lines were not only massive but there were no lanes ...
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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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