A Wicked Scoff...Recipes and Food with Newfoundland and New England Influences.

This blog is dedicated to bring recipes, photographs, anecdotes, reviews and other insights on everything food related. As the name suggests, "A Wicked Scoff" will have a regional flare, a fusion if you will, of both Newfoundland and New England perspectives of the culinary world around me. Thanks for visiting and please come back often as updates will be frequent. Oh yeah, I also like tasting and cooking with regional beers. Expect a beer of the month, often paired with recipes.

Friday, January 29, 2010

New Posts Coming This Weekend

Due to a crash of my laptop last night, there was no new posting to the blog as I had hoped. Stay tuned tomorrow for a new post on some upcoming inspiration from two old cookbooks. One is an LL Bean cookbook of New England recipies and the other is Recipes of the Atlantoc Provinces, which was a series of small books and a binder put out by Ultramar gas stations some years ago. Many great recipes in these books that I will be making and sharing. There are a lot of similar common ingredients and techniquies between the two regions, molasses, fat back, dried fruit, root vegetables, wild game and seafood, etc, but with totally different results. Where I can, I'll be putting my own little twist on the recipes, and will try to both recreate and reinvent some of the classics. I'm excited to make a New England cookie called Hermits. When I first had one last week I said, "Newfoundlander's would love these!"

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Corned Beef Hash

After last week's post about Diners and Ruben Sandwiches, it's only fitting that I continue with another diner staple this week...corned beef hash. To the best of my knowledge, you won't find too much homemade corned beef hash in Newfoundland, but you will find plenty of hash made from the leftovers of Jiggs Dinner. For myself growing up we usually had hash for supper on Monday nights. Mom would usually cut up the left over potato, carrot, turnip and cabbage, and throw in a bit of salt beef if there was any left, and give it a quick fry in the cast iron skillet in a bit of butter. When I started to get into cooking I took over the hash duties at our house, and I used to begin with frying onion, and then adding the potatoes. I would cook them until they got a bit crispy and then would add the remaining vegetables. I would also like to season my hash with salt and pepper, and sometimes some dry savory and paprika. The biggest difference in mine and Mom's was that I liked to have more of a crispy crust on mine. We'd usually have this with some Newfie steak...aka bologna. And not just any bologna mind you, it had to be Maple Leaf. Some of the other stuff really does taste like lips and ....well you know what. A bit of fried bologna (boiled if Mom and Dad were on a diet...that one I never understood), the hash and some ketchup and it was quite a feed.

Diner style corned beef hash is quite simple. Usually it consists of skin-on red potato pieces (usually pre cooked), a bit of onion and chopped corned beef, seasoned with paprika or seasoned salt, and cooked on the flat top. Some diners will make it with tiny diced potatoes, but I'm not a huge fan...it reminds me of the canned corned beef hash that many Newfoundlander's are likely familiar with. Some people love this stuff but I think it smells like cat food and has way too much salt.

As I said last week, I like to cook a corned beef brisket just for the sandwiches. That was a bit of a fib, as I also do it for the hash. Below are photos of two types of hash I made recently. The first is the more traditional diner style. For this recipe I used leftover new red potatoes, onions and chopped corned beef. It couldn't be simpler to make. Here is a recipe for 4 hearty servings for a brunch side dish

In a large skillet, over medium heat, add:
- 2 Tbsp oil
- 1 yellow onion, diced
Cook until the onion softens a bit, and add:
-  about 8-10 small cooked and cooled red potatoes, cut into 1 inch chunks
Season with a little salt and pepper and fry until crispy, about 5-7 minutes.
Reduce heat to medium low and add a good handful of chopped coked and cooled corned beef.
Cook for a couple more minutes in order to heat the corned beef through.
Serve onto warmed platter. Great with eggs cooked any style, and some hot sauce!

The second hash I made has the same ingredients, but was prepared differently. For this one I used my mandolin to make shoestring potatoes (raw) and cooked the potatoes first until they were tender and crispy, and then added minced onion (so it would cook faster) and then the corned beef. I finished it off with some green onion and seasoned salt. I have to say, I liked the second version a little better, but both are outstanding!

Monday, January 25, 2010

1892 Ale Beef and Barley Stew

This hearty and healthy beef and barley stew featuring this month's Beer of the Month" Quidi Vidi Brewing Company's 1892 Traditional Ale, is sure to satisfy. If you cannot find this variety, any dark ale will work great, such as Bass Ale. The preparation of the stew is easy, the secret is to cook it low and slow and let the starch fro the barley and the potatoes give it it's great consistency. Served with some crusty bread or rolls and paired with a glass of beer and your winter blues will melt away. Your taste buds will thank you.

1892 Traditional Ale Beef and Barley Stew

In a large dutch oven, heat over medium heat:
- 2 Tbsp light oil (canola or vegetable)

- 1 large onion, diced
- 4 ribs celery, sliced thin
- 4 large carrots, sliced into thin rounds

Saute until vegetable become tender (about 5 minutes), and season with a dash of salt and pepper.
Remove from pot and reserve for later

While the veggies are cooking, prep your stew beef for the stew. Dry 2 lbs of stew beef with paper towels and cut into 1 inch pieces. Season the meat with a little Kosher salt and black pepper.

In the same pot, add:
- add 2 Tbsp of light oil and increase heat to medium  high
- gradually add the beef to the hot oil, and brown the beef in batches, as you do not want to steam the meat by adding too much at a time. Once the beef has been browned, make sure there is about 1-2 Tbsp of oil in the bottom of the pot. If not add a drop.

Now for the first thickening agent.

Reduce heat to medium. Sprinkle 4 Tbsp of flour over the browned beef and stir well so all the flour gets mixed in. Cook for a couple of minutes to cook off some of the raw flour. Here comes the beer.

Add 1 bottle of ale and stir vigourously to scrape off all the browned bits.
Add 4 cups of beef stock (chicken will also be fine)
1 large can of peeled plum tomatoes
a dash of Worstershire Sauce

Bring to a boil and simmer on low for 30 minutes.

After 30 minutes add:
- the cooked vegies
- 2 cloves of minced garlic
- 2 bay leaves
-1/2 cup of pearl barley
- 3 Russet potatoes, diced

Add 2-3 cups of hot water.

Cook on a simmer for another hour or so...until the beef is fork tender. For best results, cool completely in the fridge and reheat the next day!


NL Blogroll Blog of the Week

Here is some exciting news! A Wicked Scoff has been selected by The Newfoundland and Labrador Blog Roll as their "Blog of the Week". A special thanks to the NL Blog Roll. This will surely help A Wicked Scoff get out their to some new audiences. With the potential for this new traffic I will attempt to post frequently this week, so check back here daily for new recipes and the like. Also, be sure to check out A Wicked Scoff on Facebook for additional photos and thoughts. More specifically I will be posting some pictures of a boil-up/lunch I had this past weekend while ice fishing, as well as some new inspiration items tat will fuel A Wicked Scoff over the coming months.

Also, anybody reading this blog, and not just those with an invested interest in Newfoundland and Labrador, should go check out the NL Blog Roll as it features links and descriptions of around 150 blogs with a Newfoundland/Labrador connection. There is a wide variety of themed blogs to explore, from additional cooking/foodie blogs, to politics/opinion, photography, and lots of special interest blogs. Be sure to pass along the link to NL Blog Roll and to A Wicked Scoff to any of your friends and family who might be interested!


Friday, January 22, 2010

White Newfies

Here is a recipe for my favorite alcoholic drink...A White Newfie!

What is a White Newfie you may ask (excluding my fadder in a pair of shorts)? Basically it's a White Russian with a switch-a-roo on the vodka for dark rum....and the famous Newfoundland Screech at that.

I've always enjoyed a couple White Russians as a way to coat my stomach before moving on to a few beer, and somewhere along the way I lost my likeness for vodka (that's another story). Then a good friend of mine returned from a summer in Wasbush, Labrador with a drink called a "Sneaky Pete" It too was like a White Russian with whiskey (e.g. Golden Wedding) used instead of vodka. I really enjoyed Sneaky Pete's, but always felt they could be a little better. Then it hit me...dark rum. The rich flavour of the dark rum is a natural pairing for the chocolate-coffee goodness of the Kahlua, and too me, would go better with milk than whiskey. While any dark rum will do, such a Myers, Goslings or Bacardi, to be a true "White Nefwie" it has to be screech. For the milk it's best to leave the low and no fat stuff in the fridge and use at least a 2% milk, but whole would be even more decadent.


Here's is how I put it together, it's really quite simple.

In a tall glass, add a handful of crushed ice or ice cubes.
Add 1 large shot of Kahlua
Add 1 large shot of Screech rum
Top up with Milk, and stir.

Alternatively, the Kahlua, Screech and Milk may be added to a bar shaker and poured over the ice.

This drink really does taste like a milkshake, and you probably drink the first one in 30 seconds. They are that good!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

A Wicked Scoff is Now On Facebook

I have just created a Fan Page for A Wicked Scoff on Facebook.

I am still working on how to add a Facebook connect to this Blogger page, but I will figure it out.

Become a fan of the Facebook page to view additional photos not on the blog, repeat photos of past blogs, news on upcoming projects, and who knows what else.

Until then, stay full, stay happy.

Some people eat to live....I live to eat!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Diners and Rubens

From a foodie perspective, one of my favorite things about living in the northeastern US is the fact that I am surrounded by diners! I don't know of any diners in Newfoundland ( we have Fish and Chips spots and Take-Outs) so for those who have never been to a diner, true diners are prefabricated restaurant buildings, often with an exterior of stainless steel, and resembling diner cars from trains. The most populous diner areas are in New Jersey and Long Island, but you can find one or more in almost every town.

Many restaurants call themselves even if they are not true diner buildings because their menu is "dineresque". What is a diner menu? Well diners usually have a very large menu and wide range of food, usually American. Many of the diners I have been to are owned and operated by Greek-Americans and thus large portions of the menu are dedicated to Greek cuisine. Diners are always open early, and many are 24-hour joints. Breakfasts are often large and the menu will be filled with all sorts of sandwiches, burgers, salads, cold plates, hot plates, blue plate specials, fried chicken, baked scrod, soups, stews and chowders, meatloaf, stuffed sole, grilled salmon, chicken parm, shrimp scampi, hot turkey or roast beef, corned beef and cabbage and the list goes on. Needless to say, there are many diners I have been to where you wouldn't need to order the same thing twice.

For more on diners, check out these sites.

My favorite TV Show - http://www.foodnetwork.com/diners-drive-ins-and-dives/index.html

General Info - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Diner

A great diner in NJ - http://www.jeffersondiner.com/

One of the most common items I order at a diner is the Ruben Sandwich. A Ruben is a grilled sandwich made with either corned beef or pastrami on rye bread, with Swiss cheese, thousand island or Russian dressing and sauerkraut. When done right, it is the perfect combination of savory, salty, meaty, tangy goodness. Paired with some chips and a large pickle and you're all set!

I often make Ruben's at home on my cast iron stove top grill pan, and I play around with the combination's of the bread and cheese. When I have a craving I buy good deli sliced corned beef but other times I use leftover corned beef, or will slow cook a corned beef just for the sandwiches (and hash). I like rye bread better than I used to, but I love sourdough, and often use that. Same goes for the cheese, I like Swiss which is classic, but I love sharp Vermont cheddar. The sauerkraut is constant, and I prefer Boar's Head brand bagged variety. I usually use Thousand Island dressing, but if I only have Russian on hand then that's what I'll use. I also sometimes like to have a really good mustard on the side for the occasional dip.

Here are a few pics of some deli meat and homemade corned beef Rubens I have made recently. If you don't have a grill pan or panini press, a fry pan will work fine. Make them as you would a grilled cheese. Once the bread has nice grill marks and the cheese has melted...it's time to eat.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Beer of the Month - January

This month's selection for The Wicked Scoff Beer of the Month is one of my favorite beers from Newfoundland, Quidi Vidi Brewing Company's 1892 Traditional Ale
http://www.quidividibrewery.ca/1892.php). I am fortunate enough to have a few of these babies left from my Newfoundland visit this summer, and there is no better time to enjoy one of these dark flavorful brews than on a cold winter's night after a hard day's work. And that's just what I'm going to do. In fact, since I have two bottles left, I'll have one to drink and I'll cook with the other one. I've been itching to make (and eat) a beef and barley soup or stew and this 1892 Traditional Ale will be the perfect additive to a rich and heart stew such as that.

While I do enjoy this beer quite a bit, and often ordered it on tap in the pubs back in St. John's, it was not always one I enjoyed. The very first time I had one was on a softball tournament. It was a hot, sunny Saturday afternoon and we had a break between games. We were playing in Argentia and there was not a beer store close to the ballfield. My buddy had a summer job working at Quidi Vidi Brewery (they were just up and running I believe) as his uncle is one of the co-founders. He had a case of 1892 sitting in his truck since the day before, and it was warm! Up until then I had little experience with dark European style beers, I was used to domestics like Labatts Blue and Molson Canadian (I know...shame on me). Anyways, lets just say that the 1892 was not a big hit amongst the crowd. They were piss warm and strongly flavoured. The only reason we drank them was because they were free, but it wasn't easy.

My palate for beers from around the world has matured somewhat since then, and really appreciate the bold flavor of 1892 Traditional Ale. The beer is brewed with two-row malt and a very generous amount of hops, giving it an amber colour and smooth finish. It is a very distinct beer for Newfoundland, and I am lucky enough to have found very similar tasting beers on tap around here. One of them is the Berkshire Brewing Company's "Steel Rail Ale". I will post my recipe for Beef and Barley Stew with Dark Ale in the coming days.


Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Winter Pot Roast and Roasted Vegetables

A Wicked Scoff is finally up and running again after a little hiatus. Sorry for break in the action, however is merely been a reflection of my lack of being online than not being in the kitchen. With that being said it is winter and it's my favorite time of year for being outside working up a good sweat and an even better appetite. While I have yet to get the cross country skies out this year there has been an ample amount of hiking, snowshoeing and a tonne of pond hockey. A few hours skating around the pond chasing pucks and I'm ready to wolf down the biggest kind of feed. Here is one of my favorites from my youth, which I have changed just a bit from the way my mother used to cook it for us. I think when I was a teenager playing hockey I was good for a whole roast myself. Some good boy!
While I am a fan of most kinds of roasted beef, my favorite cut is probably the cheapest....a chuck roast. While I also love the expensive prime rib (medium rare) and thinly sliced top round for sandwiches, I don't think you can beat the tenderness and flavor of a seared and slow roasted chuck roast. It literally melts in your mouth and it makes the best gravy. I'm sure it's so tasty because of all the fat, but it's worth it every now and then. I like to serve my roast with roasted potatoes and carrots and a side of something green. I also add chopped onions to the top of the roast so they get nice a caramelized and enrich the gravy. My mom always severed mashed potatoes and boiled carrots with this, which is also delicious.

Chuck Roast - a 4-5 lb boneless roast will serve 6 hearty appetites

Preheat Oven to 325 degrees.
Heat 1-2 Tbsp of oil in a large dutch oven over medium heat
Season each side of the roast liberally with Kosher salt a cracked black pepper
Sear each side of the roast for 3-4 minutes, until each side is nicely browned.
Carefully add a good splash of water, stock, red wine or beer to deglaze the pot, cover and place in the low oven and let the roast do it's thing, undisturbed for about an hour.
Add 1 medium onion (medium dice), and a little more stock if all the liquid is gone.
Return to the oven and continue to cook for about 45 minutes to an hour.

After you add the onions, it generally a good time to get your vegetables into the oven. I love the taste of roasted carrots and I can have potatoes with every meal. For this one I cut some new red potatoes into large chucks and cut the carrots into three pieces (halved, and then half the thick end again). Toss the spuds and carrots in 2 Tbsp of olive oil with salt and pepper (a whole garlic clove or two is also great tossed in here, as are some herbs such as thyme, rosemary or savory). Cook on a baking sheet for about 45 minutes, tossing after 25 minutes.

When the roast is done (falling apart fork tender), I remove it to a platter and keep it and the veggies warm in a low oven. The next step is to make some rich gravy. There should be a fair amount of fat in the bottom of the dutch oven. Place the dutch oven on a medium heat on the stove top and toss in 2 heaping tablespoons of flour. With a wooden spoon, stir the flour into the drippings and cook for a couple of minutes. Now add some stock, about 6 cups, or until you get the desired consistency. You can use water if you have none, or even oxo cubes, but I usually use 4 cups of beef stock and 2 cups of chicken stock. Use whatever you have on hand. Another splash of beer or wine wouldn't do any harm either. If you have them, add a few of the herbs you seasoned the veggies with.

Carve the roast and plate up this delicious, inexpensive satisfying meal.

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