Friday, January 23, 2015

Old With The New

I can devour myself in reading about New England lumbermen for hours on end, mainly because of my great uncle Warren "Gus" Bailey. Uncle Gus was bigger than life, a woodsman his whole life and a river driver par excellence. He also cooked at times and it is with him in mind that the following are repeated here. He is mentioned in books written about Maine lumbermen and I am proud as all hell of his legacy and the fact that I was finally able to locate his, and his wife's, graves in Kossuth, Maine. Here is a little dittie about the life and death of a lumberman.

"He lived in the company house

and he worked in the company mill.

He got his grub from the company store

and he paid the companies bill.

And when he died, they buried his hide,
for the company owned the rest."

And here is a poem dedicated to the river driver of old, by Joseph Evens:

"Close by his pal, he saunters down the street

just a bit scornful, a bit curious too.

How can folks live in houses prim and new

And not miss lakes and streams and woodways sweet?

His shirt is checked all black, green and red,

his hat is rakish on his tousled hair.

His socks of wool are made to stand long wear

and wettings like his boots, and he has fed

fair eagerly on bacon, beans and bread.

He's a prouder of his purse than King of Crown.

He'd give his last cent for chum or drink;

He'll sing or dance or swear, and knows no dread,

and risk his life for others and not shrink;
He's just come off the drive and owns the town."


So by taking the old time staple of beans and combing it with the newer fad which is crock pot cookery, I think you will love the following recipes.
Cookee Chili

For those of you who are unfamiliar with the term Cookee, he/she was a cooks assistant in New England lumber camps of old. They were the 'gophers', dishwashers, potato peelers....heck, all the menial tasks the camp cook didn't want to deal with was done by the cookee. I have replaced the traditional kidney beans found in most chili recipes with a Yankee lumber camp staple, Yellow Eye's. Don't be alarmed that this recipe will taste like Baked Beans though, the addition of classic chili ingredients transforms this protein packed meal into a crock pot classic.


1 1/2 cups dried beans(I used Yellow eye)
1 pound ground pork
1 small green pepper, minced1 small onion, minced
1(28-ounce) can diced or stewed tomatoes 1 1/2 cup strong brewed coffee
1 cup vegetables broth*1 cup whole kernel corn1 (6-ounce)can tomato paste
3 tablespoons tomato paste
3 tablespoons chili powder 2 tablespoons brown sugar
2 teaspoons salt 2 teaspoons garlic powder
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon black pepper


Soak beans in plenty of water overnight if desired. In the morning, rinse and add to crock pot. In a large skillet over medium heat, add ground pork. Break up well and cook until completely done, about 8 minutes, stirring to continue breaking up. Add to crock pot along with remainder of ingredients. Stir well, cover and cook about 8 hours, or until beans are soft but still hold their shape. Add additional spices as needed. Serve with shredded cheese over the top.

*I would have 2 cups total of the broth set aside. When chili is done, add more broth in order to thin out if desired.

Makes about 8 cups

Cheddar-Garlic Drop Biscuits

How can you eat chili without some good, tangy drop biscuits? I love love LOVE this recipe, and they are the perfect accompaniment with this old-fashioned chili recipe.

2 teaspoons garlic powder, divided
2 teaspoons parsley
1/2 cup butter or margarine, melted and divided
Nonstick cooking spray
2 cups flour
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 cup sour cream
1 1/2 cups shredded Cheddar cheese


In a small bowl, stir together 1 teaspoon garlic, parsley and 1/4 cup melted butter; set aside. Preheat oven to 350-degrees F. Spray a baking sheet with nonstick cooking spray; set aside.

In a large bowl, stir together flour, sugar, baking powder, cayenne pepper and salt. Add remaining melted butter, sour cream and cheese, mixing to incorporate well.

Using a 1/4-cup ice cream scoop or measuring cup, scoop biscuit batter onto prepared baking sheet, leaving 2-inches between each mound. Bake 12-14 minutes, or until slightly browned on top. Remove from oven to brush with equal amounts of the garlic butter and serve immediately.

Makes about 8

Monday, January 12, 2015

Continuing with Early New England Settlers, 1600-1700

Blomfield, Bloomfield or Blumfield

Henry was at Salem, Mass. in 1638.
John died in Mass. in 1640, leaving two sons
William, came to Boston, Mass. in 1634, then to Newbury, Mass. In 1639, he is found in Hartford, Conn, removing to New London, Conn. in 1650 and lastly to Newtown, L.I. in 1663.



James came to Concord, Mass. in 1638 with his four sons(James, John, Richard and Robert), who were among the first year settlers of Groton, Mass.


Thomas came here to N.E. in 1620 aboard the Speedwell and went to Plymouth, Mass, then removed to Barnstable, Mass. in 1639.



Robert was at Roxbury, Mass. in 1632 and two years later went to Charlestown, Mass., then removed to Boston, Mass. in 1644.


Blout or Blunt

Samuel was at Charlestown, Mass. in 1681.
William settled at Andover, Mass. in 1634.



John was at Barnstable, Mass. in 1643 and then to Boston, Mass. in 1654.
Pyam was at Cambridge, Mass. in 1668.


Bly or Blye

John was at Salem, Mass. in 1663.
Samuel was of Lynn, Mass. in 1678.


Boaden, Boden or Bowden

Ambrose was at Scarbrotough, Maine in 1658.
Benjamin was at New Haven, Conn. in 1685.
John was at Boston, Mass. in 1668.
Richard was at Boston, Mass. in 1661.
Thomas was a resident of Marblehead, Mass. in 1668.
William was a Maine resident as early as 1642.



Samuel was fifth generation of William and first resided in Ipswich, Mass. and in 1636 was one of the first settlers at Wethersfield, Conn.
Thomas was granted land at Ipswich, Mass. in 1635; previous to this was at Plymouth, Mass; at Sandwich, Mass. in 1638 and at Yarmouth, Mass. in 1643.
Major William came with his mother and stepfather to Cambridge, Mass. in 1638.



John, was at Boston, Mass. in 1644.
William was at Watertwon, Mass. pre-1643.



Henry was at Newbury, Mass. in 1678 then removed to Andover and later to Haverhill, Mass.


Bohonion or Bohannon

John was at Boston, Mass. pre-1658.


Joseph settled at Winter Harbor, Maine in 1640 then to Wells, Maine in 1653.
Thomas was at New London, Conn. in 1667



Francis came to Boston, Mass. in 1639 and then went to Milford, Conn. the following year.

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Continuing with Early New England Settlers, 1600-1700

It is going to be a short post today but I WILL add more names by tomorrow.


Christopher was at Boston, Mass. in 1663.

George was at Gloucester, Mass. in 1640.

Henry was of Boston pre-1652.

Jasper settled at Hampton, N.H. in 1650.

Jeremiah purchased lands in New London, Conn. in 1681.

John, came to New England in 1660 with his mother and stepfather where they settled in Malden, Mass and then Middletown, Conn. by 1673.

John was at Hampton, N.H. in 1678.

John, was at Boston, Mass. pre-1692.

John was at Wrentham, Mass. in 1688.

Nathaniel was at Boston, Mass. in 1676.

Phillip lived in Boston, Mass. in 1676.

Richard came to N.E. in 1638 and was at Dorchester, Mass. by 1644.

William, son of Giles and 11th generation from Robert de Blakeland settled at Dorchester, Mass. in 1630.



Peter was at new London, Conn. in 1662.

Thomas was at Braintree, Mass. in 1640, then to Charlestown, Mass by 1651 and finally settling at Braintree.

William was at Salem, Mass. in 1642.



John was at Lynn, Mass. in 1659.

John was at Charlestown, Mass where he married in 1668 but left no issue.


Blanton or Blanding

William came to N.E. in 1640, where he lived at Boston in 1643.



Peter was granted lands in New London, Conn. for his service in the Pequot War in 1637. He remove to Haddam, Conn. in 1669.



Thomas was at Hartford, Conn. in 1640, then to New Haven, Conn. in 1642.



William was at Boston between 1625-1626, then removed to Providence, R.I. shortly after.



Thomas was at Boston, Mass. in 1652.



Rev. Richard came to Marshfield, Mass. pre-1640, where is is found at Plymouth, Mass. He then removed to Gloucester, Mass in 1641 and then to New London, Conn. in 1650. He returned to England in 1659.


Blish or Blush

Abraham was at Barnstable, Mass. pre-1651.



George was at Lynn, Mass. in 1635 and then to Sandwich, Mass. in 1640. Finally settling at Newport, R.I. in 1649.

Thomas, son of Thomas of Belstone, Devonshire, England and brother of the preceding, was at Braintree, Mass. in 1635; then to Hartford, Conn. in 1639 where he died within 5 years.

Thomas, was at Weymouth, Mass. in 1642, then to Reheboth, Mass. in 1649.


Blodgett or Blodget

Johnathan was at Salisbury, Mass. in 1689.

Thomas was at Cambridge, Mass. in 1635.


Blois or Bloys

Edmund, was at Watertown, Mass. in 1639.

Francis was the brother of the preceding and was at Cambridge, Mass. in 1641

Friday, January 2, 2015

A Fun, Informative and Superb Read

I obtained a book entitled Hudson Valley-Food & Farming, Why Didn't Anyone Ever Tell Me That? by Tessa Edick, and was asked for my honest opinion and review. Where do I begin?

After banging my head for a little while, it occurred to me to simply follow the same steps as the author herself.....from the beginning. This book started at the 'grass roots' of this wonderfully organic region on both sides of the Hudson River that traverses, almost vertically, the entire state of New York. Tessa lays down an easy stepping stone on the building of a trip through time, food processing and culture of this area and beyond.

Throughout this engaging repertoire of the Hudson Valley, she writes with the laymen foody and horticultural professor in mind, yet with the style all of us can understand. Showing a condensed history of farming in New York, she is still able to get a superb amount of information in very few pages, making an English teacher very proud.

Tessa also deftly informs the reader on the truths and myths of organic and locally sourced farming in an honest and open dialogue. One feels as though their mother or grandmother had written this book because of the interspersed "homy" pictures of farmers and family, as well as simply prepared recipes that you would swear came from your mother's recipe booklet. You know, the one with all the food stains and marked by dog ears?

As the foremost New England Food Historian, I am pleased that Tessa dots every chapter with the history of certain time-honored beginnings of our American food heritage. It is obvious from the start that she adores her vocation as well as the small and larger farmers, writing of them as she would her own neighbor.

She also expertly gives you her insight on the future of organic farming and sustainability, with which should be considered as a top priority for all of us.

As a parent, I find this book especially gratifying because of her many references to children and family, both in the present sense and the future, with regards to our health resulting from our eating habits. In particular, the many family farms strewn around this valley that produces the best of the best in New York and what they are doing to improve lives. If I didn't know better, I would swear she was a Yankee, having that same proud cut and tenacity for neighborly love that we are so well known for.

On the same hand, she honestly and cautiously informs us of faults in our eating habits, the ramifications of the current eating trends and the 'how's and why's" of making better decisions.

I could distinctly see her sly grin in my mind's eye as her words of wisdom came at me at every turn of the page. And, much like our mother, she always had a way of smoothing out these eye-opening facts with a simple recipe that had me forgetting the "honest talk" we just had.

At the conclusion of this book was a simply prepared list of great farms, big and small, that hold the same love and concern for us as consumers as she showed during my time reading this great book.

And to sum up my opinion of the book? It was a great read! Only realizing I had learned something after I finished reading. I felt as though I just had a long talk with my mother or grandmother about options and choices about my diet. My Dad, the second Yankee Chef, would have easily attributed this book as a "comfort read", of which I sincerely agree.

Tessa Edick. I applaud your honesty, information and love for your 'neighbors" you so lovingly show in writing. I am proud to have had the opportunity for this review and would love to visit someday, spending time with these same neighbors and family. I also eagerly await your next book.....Mom!

Tuesday, December 23, 2014


I have so blessed this year in many MANY ways. My first new home, new vehicle, a super popular blog and website(that is far surpassed 1 million viewers now) and a multitude of possibilities that have opened up for me.
Although it has taken a long time, with many of these openings taking longer than I originally expected, I am nothing if not patient.
Sure, there are still naysayers out there as well as others that either have nothing in their lives to be thankful for or have such low self esteem that they need to bring everyone they can down to their level, but it is with fortitude and a higher level of living that I overlook these people.
I am proud to be able to wear my pink chefs coat in honor and to be able to proceed with my life and life's work knowing that my priorities are well placed and my attention is focused on family and friends. (As much as I am able to anyway)

I am a consummate work-a-holic and have been ever since I was 14 years old. TRULY starting from the ground up and not afraid to reenter that ground floor if the need ever arose.
I don't put myself above anyone else and if I don't have something good to say, I don't say it at all. In that respect, I know when my days are numbered, it won't be because I let something eat at me or let other people's lives completely overwhelm MY life.

It takes growth, stamina, intelligence and priorities to live a life of happiness in the short amount of time we have on this earth. My goodness, if there is anything I have learned with age is to focus on what makes you happy, calm and loving in that short amount of time we have.

I used to be a jealous young adult, hold grudges, get upset at the drop of a hat, drink, carouse, not care about my next meal or abode......and I wish I knew then what I know now. (How many times I have heard my parents say that).
My Dad never let things bother him(at least as I remember) and always smiled regardless of any circumstance. My Aunt Marion is the same way, and so wasn't my Uncle Stan.
There are still times that I let things bother me but not nearly as much as years past. So this year, I am going to slowly let those feelings subside even more, and more next year, and so on, and so on.
I am grateful for what I have, not what I don't have. I am happy with my life, not jealous of someone else's life. I love the underdog, and always will. And by that, I mean those that aren't as fortunate or struggling. I have a HUGE weakness for children's well-being and that is what I try to focus on as well.

Sooooo, I have rambled on quite enough. I am just truly thankful that my glass is half full and it is from MY glass, I will drink. Salute and Merry Christmas all my friends and thank you for bringing 100 years of The Yankee Chef into the 101st year.

It's Just That Simple! ™

Wednesday, December 17, 2014


This British Classic is normally steamed and was prepared as such for many generations at the beginning of New England colonization. Steamed puddings have fallen by the wayside since the 19th century, mainly because of the lack of proper equipment and time in modern family households. The recipe below is no different. It resembles a super moist muffin than anything else, but don't let that detract you from making it.
It is simply delicious, even with some alternative ingredients such as soaked raisins instead of dates, orange juice and the sauce. Toffee sauce is ordinarily used, but I decided to give it a New England feel by using molasses. After all, can you think of anything stickier than molasses?

I have also noted at the end of this recipe about the true origin. Although there are multiple theories, one thing is certain. Our Yankee ancestors, here on the East coast, love their rum and some have even speculated the word Toffee comes from Tafia, which means Rum.

So try this Yanked recipe for the Holidays and beyond for a flavor that has transcended time, tables and tastes.

New England Sticky 'Toffee' Pudding

3/4 cup raisins
1 1/2 cups frozen orange juice concentrate, thawed
1 cup water
1/2 cup sugar
1/3 cup butter or margarine
2 tablespoons molasses
2 teaspoons vanilla
Nonstick cooking spray
2 eggs, beaten
1 2/3 cup flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
Yankee 'Toffee' Sauce, recipe below*


Preheat oven to 350-degrees F. In a medium saucepan, add raisins and orange juice concentrate and water. bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring to combine. Boil for 10 minutes, remove from heat and drain all but 2 tablespoons liquid. Add sugar, butter, molasses and vanilla, stirring until butter has melted. Let cool for a few minutes before refrigerating for 60 minutes.

Spray 10 cups in one or two muffin tins with nonstick cooking spray; set aside. In a large bowl, combine flour with baking soda. Stir in the raisin mixture and eggs, mixing until just combined. Fill the prepared muffin cups with equal amounts of Pudding batter, each cup will be about 2/3-full. Bake 18-20 minutes, or until the center bounces back when touched. Remove from oven to serve hot with Yankee 'Toffee' Sauce.

To make the Yankee 'Toffee' Sauce, combine 1 cup molasses, 3 tablespoons thawed orange juice concentrate and 1 teaspoon lemon juice in a small saucepan. Gently heat until warm and spoon over warm Sticky Toffee Puddings.


*If you would like to stay true to the origin of Toffee Pudding, replace the orange juice concentrate with dark or flavored rum or replace the lemon juice with rum extract.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Spice Cake, Move Over!!!

The flavor of this cake is far and above better tasting than Spice Cake and I think you will agree that it will quickly be a family favorite.

Depression Cake was a popular treat during, of course, the Depression era here in the U.S.. It didn't include eggs, butter and milk because these were rationed and expensive during this time. On the same hand, apples were abundant, cheap and used excessively. We all know us Yankees have been using apples in every aspect of home life since the Puritan era anyway, so it was only a given that we incorporate this natural sweetener, along with New England maple syrup, into this delicious cake.

The topping of boiled raisins actually far predates this cake, back to a little earlier than the Civil War, with the Boiled Raisin Cake being popular. You will notice, as well, that there is no other leavening agent other than a pinch of baking soda. You won't believe the reaction of soda and vinegar in this recipe. This cake is higher than if you used baking powder or eggs. And the texture is out of this world, not to mention the taste.


Rum-Raisin Depression Cake


1/2 cup raisins
3 cups apple juice or cider
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
2 teaspoons lemon juice
Nonstick cooking spray
1 1/3 cup flour
1/2 cup crushed graham crackers
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
3/4 cup maple syrup
1/3 c vegetable oil
2 teaspoons rum extract*
2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
1 1/3 cups apple sauce


Make Spiced Raisin Sauce by boiling raisins, apple juice and cloves in a medium saucepan over medium heat for 15 minutes, adding more if needed to keep liquid just above raisins. Remove, stir in lemon juice and transfer to a bowl. Cover and refrigerate at least 6 hours or overnight.

Preheat oven to 350-degrees F. Spray a 9-inch cake pan with nonstick cooking spray; set aside. In a large bowl, add flour, graham crackers, sugar, baking soda and cinnamon; mix well. Add apple sauce, maple syrup, oil, vanilla and vinegar, stirring into the flour mixture until just combined. Pour into prepared pan and bake 36-38 minutes, or until nicely browned on top and it springs back when touched in the middle. Remove from oven to cool slightly before transferring to a plate or serving platter.

Remove Spiced Raisin Sauce from refrigerator, stir to combine and serve over cake to serve. Add whipped topping if desired. This cake is also great serving right out oven and warming raisin sauce before spooning over cake slices.

*Substitute vanilla or almond extract if desired. Old recipes for this cake often included alcoholic rum and you desire to use this, simply replace a 1/4 cup dark or flavored rum for a 1/4 cup of the maple syrup.