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


beanpole said...

Now THAT is a great way to use up the bag of beans I have had in my cupboard for 5 years. Thanks Chef.

foodiefromMich said...

Looks like I know what we are having for Sunday dinner. Looks awesome Yankee chef

Anonymous said...

Just got done making a double batch of those biscuits. they were SUPERB!!!!!