Monday, April 29, 2013

Giveaway!!! And The Yankee Chef answers our burning questions (and gives us his favorite recipe).

Last week, I asked my Facebook friends, "What would you ask a chef, if you could ask anything?" (or something like that).  You all came up with some really great questions.

And because I love you so much, I schmoozed my way into a blog interview with honest-to-goodness chef and author Jim Bailey, who's new cookbook "The Yankee Chef" is ah-may-zing. 

Ok, I didn't really schmooze.  Jim was really obliging to take time out of his crazy schedule of trips to NY, work, writing, cooking, publicity, etc,  to come by and hang out with us and talk cooking AND he is giving one of YOU a copy of his new book (which, by the way, is continually sold out on Amazon because, yeah, it's that great). 

To enter the giveaway click this link: a Rafflecopter giveaway

Jim is actually a cousin of mine, which is nifty, although I feel like I should have inherited a higher degree of cooking awesomeness. Or is that not genetic?

Before moving to Maine, I had never heard of a "whoopie pie."  For a long time I could not find ONE RECIPE for these things (until my friend's mom gave me her coveted recipe - whoopie pie's are like one of the most highly guarded secrets of life, people).  

"The Yankee Chef" contains over a dozen whoopie pie recipes!!!!

(You had me at "whoopie pie," but there are a bunch of classic New England recipes plus some modernized favorites, comfort food galore - oh my word.  Be sure to enter the giveaway at the bottom of the post if you didn't use the link to "Rafflecopter giveaway" posted earlier!)

On to YOUR questions! (big thanks to the FB friends who contributed)

What is your favorite meal?

My favorite meal
Butter Poached Lobster! 

(I know Thomas Keller is credited with being the first to create butter poached lobster during the early 90s, but I must say that us Yankees have been preparing lobster in this fashion for many, many decades. IN fact, the first Yankee Chef at his Clam Shack here in Maine, began simmering lobster in butter in the early 30s. This poaching liquid he used I am going to show you today. I recommend Maine lobster but spiny or rock lobster will do just as well.)

Butter Poached Lobster

2(3/4-1 pound) lobsters

1 small plum tomato, seeded and chopped

2 tablespoons water

1 cup sweet butter, cut into pats

Boil or steam lobster for 3 minutes. Remove from water, cool and pick claws and tails, trying to keep them in single pieces.

Over medium heat, bring 2 tablespoons water to a boil. Reduce heat to low and whisk in butter, a pat at a time, until melted. Do not let the butter come to a boil, just above scalding. Keep butter on low and add the lobster meat, making sure all lobster is covered. Poach in this beurre monte for 7 minutes.

That's it!

What is your favorite cookbook?

My all-time favorite cookbook would have to be From Julia Child's Kitchen. She is probably one of my idols because she is no-nonsense and tells it like it is (just like a Yankee).

What is the very best way to cook asparagus?

The easiest and best way to cook asparagus is by simply snapping off the tough stem part at the bottom of each stalk and peeling(with a vegetable peeler) only if the asparagus stalk is large around. If it is small, you need not peel. Otherwise add a little olive oil and minced garlic(to taste) to a skillet and saute over medium-high heat for about 2-3 minutes, rolling the asparagus so that all sides are evenly cooked. Remove to a serving plate and top with some grated Parmesan cheese.

What is the best way to cook chicken without a sauce and have it come out moist?

As for grilling chicken to come out always moist, the best thing to do is make foil packets. Simply encase whatever chicken you are cooking tightly in a large piece of tin foil(crimping very VERY well) and throw onto your outdoor grill. I always add a marinade(not much)as well. If you don't want to fuss over foil packets, always, and I mean ALWAYS grill chicken over indirect heat. Off to the side in other words. Low and slow is the motto. There are just so many different ways of cooking chicken outside, but these two are the best 'general' ideas of cooking chicken outside. 

How can I get potato wedges to be evenly crispy?

Potato wedges should be cut, oiled with a light layer of olive oil and put on the grill grates just until they are barely tender. It all depends on the size of the wedges. Start the wedges over direct heat to brown slightly then move them over to indirect heat to finish cooking. 

Add some spices if desired, but wait until the potatoes are almost completely done or these spices and herbs you add will burn and just plain be disagreeable in sight and flavor.

The Yankee Chef's hope for us:

"My focus has always been to get people back to the table to eat. 

Who doesn't have fond memories of sitting at the kitchen table with family and enjoying not only the food but the conversation, stories and love that was so prevalent while eating dinner? 

If it wasn't for those times, I wouldn't have had these great stories to share with everyone and to get them thinking about their own family gatherings and memories."

I had to ask about the pink chef's coat!  (and if I'm supposed to call it a "chef's coat" or "jacket"?)

"My pink chefs coat is not only my favorite color, and my fathers as well, but it quietly symbolizes my attention to breast cancer awareness. 

As many of you know, my mother succumbed to breast cancer when I was 18 and it is a silent momento to her and allows me to bring her with me everywhere I go."

There is more from The Yankee Chef coming later this week. 

He'll tell us another favorite recipe, 
how he can teach YOU to cook (you asked!)
and about a woman who holds a special place in his heart.

Ok, peeps, now it's your chance to enter the giveaway!!!! 
(small disclaimer: I'm using Rafflecopter for the first time, so we'll test this baby out together....And please let me know if you find any issues with it.)

The giveaway runs all week, so you can enter every day, I think!

Click the Rafflecopter link below to get entered. 
You'll see the directions for how to get MULTIPLE entries. 
(Here's some info in case you need links for my FB page and Yankee Chef on Twitter for extra entries - you'll see the ways to enter when you click below)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

*I have not been compensated for this review/giveaway.  The Yankee Chef book is provided by Jim Bailey for you, and I will mail you the copy when a winner is selected.  All the opinions are my own, and I purchased the copy of the book I own.  Does that cover all the legal mumbo-jumbo I'm supposed to include when doing a review/giveaway???

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