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, February 25, 2011

French Toast made with Maple Oatmeal Bread

One of the things I love about living in New England are the changes in the seasons and the new activities that come and go with each passing month. We had a really good winter this year (if you like snow that is) as western Massachusetts experienced a lot of snow. It was almost like being home, without the strong winds and five foot high drifts. After getting in a my share of pond hockey, cross-country skiing and snowshoeing a new activity is on the horizon. With day time temperatures now climbing above freezing and with cold nights late February and early-mid March are prime maple sugar making season, also referred to as sugaring. I'm fortunate enough to have a father-in-law who has activities that keep the family very active, including making our own maple syrup in his very own sugar shack. Last weekend we trudged up and down the hills through the deep snow tapping the sugar maples and repairing the lines so that the buckets at the bottom of the hills can fill with sap. This coming weekend there will likely be enough collected to start boiling the sap down to syrup. It will take a lot of time and lots of firewood (and maybe a few cold beverages will also be sacrificed) but in the end the family will be rewarded with anywhere between 15-25 gallons of amber gold, aka maple syrup. Once you start eating the real stuff you can never go back to the fake flavored variety.

With this weekend just around the corner I thought I'd post a recipe for some french toast (so simple) made with homemade maple-oatmeal bread and served of course with real Massachusetts maple syrup. The last recipe I used to make maple-oatmeal bread is not my own, as I found it on the King Arthur Flour website (please note that I did not add the maple sugar or maple extract). While I plan on making some changes to it to put a personnel spin on it, I haven't had a chance to do it yet. It is a good bread recipe and there are many others on the Internet. If you are like me and love homemade bread, notably molasses (lassy) bread or raisin bread then you will absolutely fall in love with maple-oatmeal bread. This bread is soft and aromatic with a hint of maple and cinnamon and the goodness of oats. I love it so much I can't have it around during the week, and I save it for a weekend treat.

You may make french toast any way you are used to, but what I wanted to share today was for you to try it with this maple-oatmeal bread. When used as french toast it will be the ultimate weekend breakfast. I like to cut my slices thick a dip them into a mixture of beaten eggs (mixed with a drop of milk or cream). Sometimes I add cinnamon and/or vanilla to my french toast batter but that isn't necessary here as the bread has loads of flavor. Simply fry the french toast in a little butter until browned on each side and enjoy with a hot cup of coffee, some fresh fruit and of course real maple syrup! 

Friday, February 18, 2011

Wicked Good Hash

For my parents, and for generations before them, particular meals in Newfoundland were synonymous with a certain day of the week. Which meal and on what day undoubtedly varied from region to region, town to town and even between families in the same town for sure, but there was a custom and tradition to the whole thing, based around the seasons, and available ingredients. For instance, my mother tells me that in her household in Trinity Bay in the 1950s they had Jigg's Dinner every Tuesday and Thursday, no exceptions. Some times they would have straight up Jiggs, while other times there was a roast and gravy, usually wild game such as moose or rabbit. Fridays were likely fish (even though they were Protestant), Saturday was a soup day (either vegetable and rice or pea), and the rest of the week was either fresh fish, boiled beans (white beans, onions and salt meat) and likely another soup day. Lunches consisted of leftovers from the night before, fried potatoes, bread and of course fish, which could be cod, trout, salmon or capelin. I'm sure many of you reading will have your own memories of what your family ate on what day.

Growing up in rural Newfoundland when I did in the 1980s and 1990s, we didn't have a set or traditional menu for every night of the week like it used to be, with one exception. Every Sunday, and I mean every Sunday we had what we would call "Sunday dinner" or "cooked dinner" (of course it was cooked right) and nine times out of ten we had it for lunch, not supper/dinner, even though most Newfoundlanders call lunch dinner, but that's another story. Every Sunday Mom would have the full spread of potatoes, carrots, cabbage and turnip boiled with salt beef or salt spare ribs, peas pudding and all. In the oven there would be a roast of some kind, either a stuffed chicken, a chuck roast or a pork roast, and of course there was gravy to be smothered over the works of it. Making the gravy was actually one of my first jobs in the kitchen at home.

Finished plate of hash
You really can't beat a meal like this, and ask any Newfoundlander and I am sure they will tell you the same thing. One of the great bonuses of having a great meal like this were the leftovers. Mom always cooked more than we could eat on Sunday with the sole purpose of having "hash" on Monday for supper. If we had any meat and gravy leftover to go with it that was grand, but if not we were happy enough to have some fried bologna (bolonie). Cooked in the cast iron skillet and served with the bologna and sides of ketchup, gravy, mustard pickles and pickled beets, it was a fine supper indeed. Growing up in my own little world around the bay, I thought hash was a Newfoundland thing, but apparently cultures all over the world do a similar thing with leftovers, and more often then not it includes left overs from a boiled or roasted dinner, or something similar. In the US there is corned beef hash, a diner menu staple of fried (pre-boiled) potatoes, onion and minced corned beef. The British have "bubble and squeak", apparently named for the sound it makes while cooking. Bubble and squeak is very much like Newfoundland hash in that the leftover vegetables from a roast dinner are fried crisp in a shallow pan and served with pickles. In Denmark there is "biksemad:, Scandinavia has "pyttipanna", and my favorite of all is Scotland which has "rumbledethumps"! I really think I have to come up with a more catchy name for our version besides just plain Jane boring "hash". 

Since I moved away from Newfoundland I certainly do not have "cooked dinner" on a weekly basis, however I do try and make it with corned beef (which I love like you wouldn't believe) once every month or two (not enough I know). Last Sunday we did just that and had a huge scoff of boiled dinner with a roast turkey. The dinner was absolutely delicious and was enjoyed by my seven in-laws (one of which is a Newfoundlander herself - my wife's brother's wife) and my wife and I. Luckily there were plenty of leftovers as I was dying for some hash the next day.

While I love my mom's hash, even at a young age I would tinker with mine to make it the way I loved it. My family would be sat down to the table eating away and I'd have my hash slid back into the fry pan trying to get it crispier. Eventually I started making the family hash, and would start off by sauteing some onion, and adding herbs. What I was going for was good texture and flavor throughout the hash. I wasn't looking to just warm up some leftovers, I wanted to get tender onions, crispy potato pieces, caramelized bits of cabbage and carrots, and juicy morsels of meat. With a little bit of TLC it isn't hard to do.

- vegetable oil
Leftover turnip, carrot and cabbage ready to get hashed
- onion, diced
- Leftover- vegetables from boiled dinner (aka Sunday Dinner, Jigg's Dinner, Cooked Supper, Corned Beef and Cabbage), including: potatoes, cabbage, carrots and turnip.
- Leftover meat, such as: salt beef, corned beef, roast chicken or turkey, pork roast or roast beef.
- Herbs (dried savory, fresh parsley or whatever you like)
- Salt and pepper
- Poached or fried eggs for on top (optional)
- Sides, such as pickled beets, mustard pickled, bread and butter pickles.


You can cook your hash almost however you like and I'm sure it will come out very well. What I'd like to share is how I think you can maximize the flavor potential of your hash and get the best tasting hash you've ever had. Instead of throwing everything is a skillet at once and letting it heat through or get fried on one side, I stage the process to ensure that everything gets well crisped and certain things don't overcook. I like to use a large cast iron skillet to make hash in, but a non stick fry pan will also work great. I'm not giving amounts here, as you have to use whatever leftovers you have. Use the amount of onion according to how much hash you want to make and how much you like fried onions.

Crispy hash, just waiting for a fried egg
Heat some oil in the skillet over a medium heat and add diced onion. Cook for a couple of minutes, increase the heat to medium high and add chopped potatoes. You can't beat fried spuds so I think it is imperative to get a crisp going on these. Add a little more oil if necessary. Once the potatoes have started to brown, add the cabbage. I never knew how much I liked cabbage until I had left over cabbage rolls reheated in a skillet. The cabbage got all browned and caramelized on the  bottom and the taste was out of this world. I try and recreate that taste with my hash, so I add it at this stage so it will get a chance to crisp along side the potatoes. I also add my diced corned beef or salt meat if I have any left, as it gives off a little of its fat, which the spuds and cabbage love. Once these have browned and are crisp I add the chopped carrots, and whatever meat I have (the picture from my hash the other night had turkey), mix it through, and then add the turnip. I usually season with salt and pepper and some dried savory at this point and continue to cook for a couple of minutes until everything is hot. I love this hash for breakfast, lunch or supper, and I love having a runny fried egg on top as well. I certainly enjoyed eating my hash cooked this way, and I hope you will too. I just have to come up with a catchy name for it. Any suggestions?

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Barrens Blend Granola....Blueberry and Cranberry Granola

Since posting my recipe for homemade granola earlier last month I have made four or fives additional batches of the stuff, tweaking the recipe along the way. Since my earlier recipe was a first attempt, I didn't fully know what I was doing. The following recipe is a little different as I've added a few more oats and a lot more dried fruit. The cooking method is also a little different. Lastly, I've been experimenting with different combination of dried fruit and nuts. All have been really good. I've been using golden raisins, chopped apricots and dried blueberries in some of my recipes. My favorite granola of late features a combination of craisins (dried cranberries) and dried blueberries, paired with lots of chopped almonds, a little coconut,, oats, oil and maple syrup.

Barrens Bland Granola

1/4 cup vegetable oil
3/4 cup pure maple syrup

1 Tbsp pure vanilla extract
4 cups rolled oats (old fashioned, not the quick cooking)
1/4 cup wheat germ (optional)
1 1/2 cups of almonds, rough chopped
1/2 cup shredded coconut
1 cup dried cranberries (not the sweetened kind)
1 cup dried lueberries

Preheat oven to 275  degrees.
In a small saucepan, heat the maple syrup, oil and honey over medium heat. Cook until warmed through and all the ingredients are well incorporated. Remove from the heat and add the vanilla extract.
In a large bowl, combine all the dry ingredients, with the exception of the dried fruit, mix well and add the warm syrup mixture. Combine well and spread the mixture evenly over a cookie/baking sheet. Bake for approximately 1 hour until the granola is nicely brown. Stir the mixture every 20 minutes or so to ensure even browning. The browning using happens quickly near the end of the cooking.

Remove from the oven, pour in a large bowl and mix in the dried fruit. Pour the granola back onto the cookie sheet so it remains crisp as it cools (keeping it in the bowl while hot may cause it to lose some crispness). Store the granola in an airtight container.

I've been eating this stuff everyday, mostly with my Greek yogurt as my morning snack, but a few spoonfuls seem to make it on my cereal or with berries and yogurt for a post workout desert. I actually just ran out this morning and need to make some more. Go ahead and make your own concoction or follow my recipe and you won't be disappointed. Your taste buds, body and belly will thank you!

Wednesday, February 9, 2011


Here's my recipe/guide for making one of my favorite one-pot comfort foods...Jambalaya! While there are no connections with this dish to Newfoundland or New England (its actually a cajun dish from New Orleans), I feel it has a lot of appeal to east coast palettes and lifestyles. For one, what's better than a warm one-pot, hearty meal on a cold winter evening such as we have outside right now. Secondly it has great ingredients available year round, and includes chicken, sausage and shrimp, all ingredients we love here down-east. While whole or diced gulf shrimp are traditional down in the south, I like to use whole Maine or Newfoundland cold water shrimp in my jambalaya. One of the beauties about a dish like this is that you can interchange ingredients based on what you have and what you like. It can be all meat, all seafood, with sausage, without sausage, chicken breast, or chicken thighs, white rice or brown rice. You get the picture. The key here is to have good quality ingredients, cook the rice just right and have it all well seasoned with creole spice. You can use a store bought cajun or creole spice mix or just make your own.

Here's how I like to make mine. I use either boneless skinless chicken breasts or thighs, and good andouille sausage if I can find it. If not I substitute Spanish chorico sausage.

Cajun Jambalaya (serves 6)

4-6 ounces of andouille sausage (or other similar dry pork sausage), cut in to 1/4 inch thick slices
3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (or 6 boneless, skinless thighs), cut into 1 inch cubes
8 ounces uncooked shrimp
1 large yellow onion, 1/4 inch dice,
1 stalk celery, halved and diced
1 green bell pepper, diced
1 red bell pepper, diced
3-5 cloves garlic, crushed or minced
1 jalapeno pepper, minced (optional)
1 cup long grain rice (white or brown)
1 large tomato, diced
3 cups chicken stock
1 bay leaf
1 Tbsp Creole Seasoning (recipe follows), plus a sprinkle at the end


I like to first saute the sliced andouille sausage, reserve and then saute the chicken in the drippings and reserve it. I then saute the vegetables, followed by the rice, seasoning and stock, and finish with the shrimp and reserved sausage and chicken. I finish it off with some fresh parsley and hot sauce to taste.

In a large, deep skillet, saute slice sausage over medium heat until browned and it has released some of its fat.Reserve the sausage to the side. Turn heat to medium high and sear the cubed chicken in the drippings. Season with a little Creole. spice. Brown the chicken but don't worry about cooking it all the way through as it will go back in the mix. Once browned, set aside.

In the same pan, add a tablespoon of oil if necessary and add the onion, celery and diced peppers. Cook until vegetables are tender. Add the garlic and tomatoes and cook for a minute or so. Add the rice and remaining tablespoon of Creole spice and coat the rice in the oil and vegetables. Add the bay leaf and chicken stock and bring to a simmer. Reduce heat to low, cover and cook (stirring occasionally) until the rice is tender and the liquid is mostly absorbed...about 15 minutes. Add the raw little shrimps, the sausage and chicken, mix well and cover. Continue cooking for another 10 minutes or so until the shrimp and chicken are completely cooked and the rice is done. Serve with parsley and a few splashes of hot sauce if you like a little more heat. The sausage should pack a little punch. Enjoy!

Wicked Good Creole Seasoning
Combine the following spices in a jar with a tight fitting lid.
4 Tbsp Paprika
2 Tbsp Cayenne Pepper
2 Tbsp Garlic powder
2 Tbsp Onion Powder
2 Tbsp Black Pepper
1 Tbsp Ground Thyme
1 Tbsp dried Oregano
1 Tbsp Kosher Salt

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Robust Turkey Chili

Robust Turkey Chili

Who doesn't love chili? It's great any time of year, and especially now with cold snowy days outside, and the Super Bowl just around the corner. There are literally hundreds of variations on chili and here at A Wicked Scoff I myself like to mix it up and create my own chili variations. In an effort to make my first ground turkey chili, I created a recipe that made the dish unique when compared to the beefy chili I make. Besides going with chili, I wanted to give the dish some unique character. The road I went down was smoky and robust. For the smoky I exclusively used chipotle peppers, which are smoked jalapenos, and I also used chipotle powder in my spice blend. For the robust, I added a cup of good dark beer. I used a Robust Porter made by the Smuttynose Brewing Company out of Portsmouth, New Hampshire. Robust Porter is an award winning beer and with undertones of chocolate and coffee, I thought it would go excellent with the richness and aggressive seasoning of a chili. I was right. In the end product I doubt you could detect that there was beer in the chili, but the dish came out incredibly balanced with great depth of flavor.I owe that to the beer. Overall it was smoky, well seasoned and had the right amount of heat for me. It had good zing, but I didn't have to race for the sour cream after every bite. Try it like this and adjust the spice accordingly. Here's how I put it all together.

- 2 Tbsp olive oil

- 2 medium (or 1 large) yellow onion, medium dice
- 1 large green pepper, medium dice
- 1 pound of mushrooms, rough chopped
- 1 package of ground turkey (I used a 1.3 lb pack of 93% lean)
- 4-5 cloves of garlic, minced
- Chili spice mix (1 Tbsp each of chili powder and chipotle chili powder, 1 tsp each of paprika, salt and black pepper, and 2 tsp of ground cumin)
- 5 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, minced
- 1 large 32oz can of crushed tomatoes (can use whole tomatoes)
- 1/2 bottle of chili sauce
- 1 cup of dark beer (such as Smuttynose Robust Porter)
- 1 can of black beans
- 1 can of kidney beans
- 1/2 cup cilantro, chopped
- green onion, sour cream, cheese and cilantro for topping


In a large Dutch Oven or heavy bottomed pot, heat oil over medium high heat. Add onion,  green pepper and mushrooms and saute until tender; about 4-5 minutes. Push the pepper and onions to the sides and add the ground turkey to the center. Allow the turkey to brown on one side and begin combining the meat and vegetables. Once it has cooked together for a couple minute and the turkey is browned, add the garlic, chipotles and spice mix. Add the tomatoes, chili sauce and beer and mix well. Bring to a simmer, cover and reduce heat to low. Stir the chili occasionally and cook for about 45 minutes. Add the drained and rinsed kidney and black beans, along with the chopped cilantro. Cook for an additional 15-30 minutes on low and serve.I served mine Cincinnati style, on top of spaghetti (whole grain thin spaghetti actually) with some light sour cream, reduced fat sharp cheddar, green onion, and more cilantro.Enjoy!

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