Booma's Revenge Chili
By Annie Copps

Tuesday, September 14, 2010
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I am crazy for chili and make it in a variety of ways, but this recipe comes from a prize-winning chili maker and it'll be a winner for you, too. At Yankee magazine we come across a lot of great home cooks and we write about them in the column "best cook in town." This recipe is from Jerry Bouma, a home cook who competes and wins in chili competitions—it's a tamed down version of the competition recipe, which is too hot for us mortals and of course he'd never part with his prize-winning secret.

3 pounds lean ground beef
1-1/2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 medium red pepper, diced
1 medium onion, diced
4 large garlic cloves, minced
3 serrano (medium spicy) chiles, minced
1 10-1/2-ounce can double-strength beef stock (or 2-1/2 cups beef stock boiled down to 1-1/4 cups)
6 tablespoons chili powder
3 tablespoons cumin
1/4 teaspoon dry oregano
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon sugar
1 28-ounce can petite diced tomatoes
1 6-ounce can tomato paste
1 19-ounce can red kidney beans, rinsed and drained (optional)

In a large (7-quart) heavy-bottomed pot over medium-low heat, cook ground beef, breaking it up with a potato masher until it's fully cooked. Then drain and discard most of the rendered fat.

In a separate medium-size saute pan over medium heat, add oil and cook red pepper, onion, garlic, and chiles just until they begin to soften, about 5 minutes.

Add cooked vegetable mixture, beef stock, spices, sugar, and diced tomatoes to the big pot and simmer 1 hour.

Add tomato paste; stir well and cook another half-hour, stirring occasionally. If you're using beans, stir them in 10 minutes before serving.

(Courtesy: Yankee Magazine)

annie coppsAnnie B. Copps is a senior editor at Yankee Magazine. Annie oversees the magazine's food coverage, both as an editor and as a contributor of feature stories and columns.

Parsley-Garlic Stuffed Shrimp in Yuzu-Dashi Dip
By Ming Tsai

Tuesday, August 24, 2010
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If you asked the Japanese to name their most important cooking ingredient, they'd probably say 'dashi,' the briny stock they use as a foundation for so many dishes. And if you asked an American the same thing, the ubiquitous herb, parsley, would be right up there. So today I'm combining those two east-west workhorses to flavor a straightforward recipe that produces either an impressive appetizer or entrée…my Parsley-Garlic Stuffed Shrimp in Yuzu-Dashi Dip.

Serves 4

1 cup panko
5 cloves garlic
1 cup packed parsley leaves
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, plus extra for drizzling
8 colossal shrimp, butterflied
2 cups dashi
2 tablespoon fresh yuzu juice
1 tablespoon naturally brewed soy sauce
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Turn on broiler and place heat-proof plates under broiler to pre-heat. In a mini food processor fitted with blade, buzz the panko, garlic and parsley with pinch of salt and drizzle in extra virgin olive oil. Pack the shrimp with the mixture.

Remove hot plates from broiler and drizzle extra virgin olive oil on plate. Top with shrimp and broil until done, about 6-8 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a small bowl combine dashi, yuzu and naturally brewed soy sauce; taste and season, if necessary. Serve broiled shrimp with side of dashi dipping sauce.

Drink pairings
Remy Pannier Sancerre —Sancerre, Loire Valley, France Taste: Fresh, dry fruit and well-balanced with a long finish. Aroma: Grapefruit and gooseberries —100% Sauvignon Blanc —Serve chilled; Pairs well with seafood, shellfish and goat cheese.


Ming Tsai is the host and executive producer of public television series Simply Ming.

The Food Revolution That Ate New England

By Cristina Quinn   |   Tuesday, June 5, 2012
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June 6, 2012

BOSTON — Food trucks have come to Paris and they've come to Boston. Next up? If Paris wasn't unexpected enough, the food world's hottest phenomenon is moving into the suburbs.

A trend in the city

Stroll through the Financial District, Kendall Square or Cleveland Circle at lunchtime and you will see long lines forming around trucks pulled up to the curbs. The queue of people reflects the diverse, multi-ethnic menus scrawled on the chalkboards. Suits stand behind foreign students in well-worn T-shirts and moms balance their takeout containers on the hoods of strollers while fishing for change.

“I love them," said one customer. "There used to be the fear of the 'roach coach' but these places are really high-quality and they’re also generally cheaper than any of the offerings around here.”

On any given day food trucks line up on city streets, offering a bold variety that competes with brick-and-mortar counterparts. At one truck, for $5, you can get Sichuan asparagus with a slow-poached egg. At another truck, for $3, you can chow down on a taco filled with Chinese sausage, fried rice and black bean mayo.

Yes, gourmet cuisine has gone mobile — and now other cities and towns in Massachusetts want a bite. The Town of Brookline just launched a pilot program for food trucks offering more lunchtime options for workers and residents, and if all goes well, food trucks will shift into park permanently.

I think the public is fascinated by food trucks,” said Anne-Marie Aigner. So fascinated that it’s going above and beyond the city limits.

Truckin' past the city line

Aigner is the founder of the Food Truck Festivals of New England. A couple of years ago, she saw how the food truck phenomenon was barreling its way over from Los Angeles and thought: Why not make a destination event out of it? Instead of having food trucks pulled up at events like the Head of the Charles or outdoor concerts, you could flip that around and make the food trucks the main event. That means a caravan of food trucks will amble their way to towns like Framingham, Falmouth, Salem, N.H., and Newport, R.I.

People are interested in the fact that you don’t have to go into a restaurant and sit down to have a good bite," said Aigner.

People like Rick Rushton.
A plan in central Mass.

I look at what’s happened over the past 4 to 5 years with urban cuisine on the go — to the desktop, to the laptop and now to the iPad. And people’s accessibility to food, and to good food, has really transformed itself,” he said.

Rushton is a Worcester city councilor. In this city, food trucks were banned a few years ago, after a heated battle between the brick-and-mortar restaurant and food truck industries resulted in a 6-5 City Council vote that left food trucks packing. Rushton is hoping that by bringing the Food Truck Festival to Worcester on July 14, fellow councilors will warm up to the idea of getting rid of the ban.

I’m hoping that most of the city councilors are going to head down to the festival, see where the food truck revolution has gone," he said.

If you can't beat them …

Tension between food trucks and brick-and-mortar restaurants is nothing new. Some restaurants see food trucks as a threat, especially if they’re parked a little too close by for comfort. But one Somerville restaurant saw the competition as an opportunity.

My initial take was hey, we want to get in on that action," said Rob Gregory, co-owner of the landmark barbecue restaurant Redbones in Davis Square. Redbones wheeled out its own truck when Gregory saw that this was not just a flash in the pan.

Competition is good," Gregory said. "It keeps us all on our toes and keeps the quality of food up and quality of service for the customer. It’s all about trying to have something that people want. This is one of the most exciting times for experiments in the food service business. You can innovate and if it doesn’t work, you can try something else.”

Other restaurants are hitting the pavement as well. Even fast food chains like Burger King have launched their own fleets of trucks across the country.

The word is getting out," Aigner said. "It’s becoming increasingly popular with existing brick-and-mortar restaurants, and the flip of that is it’s a great entry point for somebody who’s interested in getting into the restaurant business, but can’t afford $300,000 – $400,000 to build a restaurant." It takes more like $25,000 – $50,000 to start a restaurant on wheels.

Starting from the street up

Mei Li of Mei Mei Street Kitchen agreed. "The idea is to start small with the food truck and experiment with the different ingredients and have a rotating menu so we try lots of new things and let our customers try new food," she said.

Mei and her siblings Andy and Irene bought their truck this spring as their first entrepreneurial step into the food service business. The Mei Mei Street Kitchen menu exemplifies the diverse palate of second-generation Asian Americans with items like a scallion pancake sandwich with braised beef and blue cheese. She even joked about their food being Chinese food with cheese.

“We think that it’s a unique opportunity to be able to bring real food to areas that sometimes don’t often offer that for people who work everyday and are faced with the same choices," Li said. "If you’ve got a different food truck every day in front of your office, you get to try new things and have real food brought to your doorstep. We think that’s really cool.”

Next stop?

Other cities and towns think it’s cool, too. And they’ll get a taste of the food truck experience en masse throughout the summer in various towns and cities in the New England area. For a $30 entry ticket, people will be able to eat from over 20 trucks.

Somebody out west of Worcester called and yelled at us," Aigner said. "We get calls every day. Why did you stop in Worcester? How come you didn’t come to Springfield? What about the Berkshires? How about West Hartford?”

The downside of success is that everyone wants a piece of it … or a plate.

There are 10 food truck festivals scheduled for this year, starting with an event at the UMass Boston campus on Sunday, June 10. Get the complete list. 

Quick skillet mac and Cheese -

By Susie Middleton   |   Monday, March 12, 2012
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Quick Skillet Mac and Cheese

By Susie Middleton   |   Friday, March 9, 2012
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mac and cheese

Who says you can’t have indulgent comfort food on a weeknight? Be sure to use a broiler-safe skillet, such as a cast-iron one.

Serves: 4

Kosher salt
12 oz. dried spiral pasta, such as cavatappi, rotini, or double elbows
3 Tbs. unsalted butter
3 Tbs. all-purpose flour
2 cups low-fat (2%) milk
4 oz. grated Emmentaler (1-1/4 cups)
4 oz. grated Gruyère (1-1/4 cups)
1 Tbs. Dijon mustard
1 Tbs. Worcestershire sauce
1/2 tsp. dried thyme
Freshly ground black pepper
3 oz. finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano (3 cups)


Position a rack about 4 inches from the broiler and heat the broiler on high.

Bring a large pot of well-salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta and cook according to package directions until just tender. Drain well and set aside.

Meanwhile, melt the butter in a 12-inch ovenproof skillet (preferably cast iron) over medium heat. Whisk in the flour and continue whisking until well combined, about 15 seconds. Whisk in the milk and continue to cook, whisking constantly, until the mixture thickens, 1 to 2 minutes.

Add the Emmentaler, Gruyère, mustard, Worcestershire sauce, and thyme and whisk until the cheese is melted and the mixture is smooth, 2 minutes. Stir in the pasta to coat with the sauce. Off the heat, season to taste with salt and pepper. Sprinkle the Parmigiano-Reggiano evenly over the pasta.

Broil until the top is browned, 3 to 4 minutes, and serve.

Serving suggestions:

To get your veggies in, serve with sweet, salty, and tangy Balsamic-Bacon Vinaigrette Sauce over steamed broccoli, Brussels sprouts, or broccolini.

Nutrition information (per serving):
Calories (kcal): 750; Fat (g): 32; Fat Calories (kcal): 290; Saturated Fat (g): 19; Protein (g): 36; Monounsaturated Fat (g): 8; Carbohydrates (g): 77; Polyunsaturated Fat (g): 2; Sodium (mg): 930; Cholesterol (mg): 95; Fiber (g): 4;;

Susie Middleton is editor at large for Fine Cooking magazine.

Orzo with Brown Butter and Parmesan

By Susie Middleton   |   Friday, February 17, 2012
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butternut squash stew

This little black dress of a side dish pairs with practically anything—grilled meat, roasted chicken, sautéed vegetables. Like rice pilaf, the orzo is browned in butter before broth is added, which gives it a rich, nutty flavor.

Serves 4


1-1/2 cups lower-salt chicken broth
2 Tbs. unsalted butter
1 cup orzo
1/3 cup dry white wine
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 Tbs. freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
Thinly sliced fresh chives (optional)


In a 1- to 2-quart saucepan, bring the chicken broth and 1/2 cup water to a simmer over medium-high heat.

In a 3-quart heavy-duty saucepan, cook the butter over medium heat, swirling the pan occasionally, until the butter turns goldenbrown and smells nutty, about 2 minutes. Add the orzo and stir with a wooden spoon to coat well. Cook until the orzo just begins to turn a light golden color, about 2 minutes.

Pour in the wine and stir until absorbed, about 1 minute. Add the simmering broth mixture, stir, cover, and reduce the heat to low. Cook until the orzo is just tender, about 12 minutes; the mixture may still be wet but will set up.

Stir the orzo, season to taste with salt and a generous amount of pepper, and mix in the Parmigiano. Cover and let rest 5 minutes. Add the chives (if using) and serve.


Vary the flavor by adding basil and toasted pine nuts, sautéed mushrooms and thyme, or peas, mint, and a squeeze of lemon.

nutrition information (per serving):

Calories (kcal): 250; Fat (g): 8; Fat Calories (kcal): 70; Saturated Fat (g): 4.5; Protein (g): 9; Monounsaturated Fat (g): 2; Carbohydrates (g): 33; Polyunsaturated Fat (g): 0; Sodium (mg): 210; Cholesterol (mg): 15; Fiber (g): 1;

Susie Middleton is editor at large for Fine Cooking magazine.

About the Authors
Susie Middleton Susie Middleton
Susie Middleton is editor at large for Fine Cooking magazine and the author of veggie cookbooks Fast, Fresh & Green and The Fresh & Green Table.

Follow her on Twitter at @sixburnersue


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