The Buzzard’s Bay Challenge Lamentation Dinner

Throughout the course of time, the forces of Good & Evil have done battle in any great number of ways and in any great numbers of arenas. Recently, yet another of these titanic struggles was waged on 18 holes tucked along the shores of Buzzard’s Bay between our champions, The Sea Stars (The Good) & our nemesis, The Sea Scallops (The Evil). It was two days of Chest Thumping Man Golf that despite accusations of chicanery & handicap manipulation, was really lost by the play of a hot ringer from North Carolina and when a 20 foot putt from off the green went in while an 80 foot double breaking uphill downhill putt lipped out of the hole. As the Team Chef for the event, I was tasked once again with creating a dish to commemorate the battle at this year’s, for lack of a better term, Lamentation Dinner.

Now last year, the Victory Dinner recipe involved Scallops with a Spicy Sweet Bourbon Sauce that was served over wilted greens in a tip of the hat to the monsoon like conditions in which we had to play. This year the winning team suggested that their “Celebration Dish” consist of Ham & a Six Pack. So I made them a ham sandwich on white bread with a warm can of Narragansett Beer. To be honest, my culinary side was somewhat offended by such plebian fare for such an august occasion so I went back to the kitchen to create something a little more fitting. So may I present to you all:

Ham Wrapped Scallops in a Golden Putter Sauce

1lb – Sea Scallops (cleaned & dried)

1lb – Baked Ham – thinly sliced

2 TB – Olive Oil

Golden Putter Sauce:

¼ cup – White Wine

4 TB – Butter (half a stick)

¼ tsp – Ground Mustard

¼ tsp – Turmeric

½ of a Lemon

Sea Salt & White Pepper to taste


Melt the butter in a sauce pan over medium heat and add the wine, ground mustard, turmeric, lemon, sea salt & pepper. Stir occasionally while letting it simmer & reduce.

While the sauce is simmering & reducing, clean & dry each scallop and then wrap each one in a slice of ham by folding the corners under the scallop so they resemble a little package.

Once the ham is wrapped around the all of the scallops, put the olive oil in a large sauté pan and bring it up to medium high heat. Place the scallops into the pan fold side down and let them cook for 5-6 minutes while moving them around the pan. This should help sear the folds shut. Then flip the scallops and sauté top side down for another 3-4 minutes.

Remove from the pan and arrange the packets fold side down on the plate. Drizzle the hot Golden Putter Sauce over the little packets and serve & enjoy.

Makes about 16 scallops

FORE !!!

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Put Some Frosting On, You Hussy ! (Just Say No to Naked Cakes)

By no means would I ever describe myself as a prude but the recent overabundance of nakedness in our society has caught my attention in the wrong way. People are getting naked more now than at any time since the Flower Power & Free Love Days of the late 1960’s & early 1970’s. We see naked people in the movies, we see naked people on TV, we see naked people on the internet and if you aren’t careful about where you look, you will see naked people on the streets of New York. Now all that nakedness has spilled over into the culinary world and that is where I have to draw the line on all this gratuitous nudity. We must put a stop to the scourge of the Naked Cake.

Now as we all know, God & Julia Child invented cake frosting for a reason. It is meant to be spread in between the layers of a cake, it is meant to spread on top of a cake and most of all it is meant to be spread on the SIDES of a cake. If you hand me a piece of cake with no frosting on the sides, I am going to look to see if you or someone else already licked it off. I realize that you can have fun with the colors and make the cakes look like confetti exploding inside but I don’t care. It’s not right. The Anticipation of the Reveal is a trick that has been handed down throughout society from the beginning of time and it applies to cake as well as anywhere else. I want to see the knife slide slowly through the cake as the frosting clings ever so slightly to the sides of the knife. I want to be surprised by the piece of cake itself when it is lifted ever so gently away from the main body of the cake and laid on its side on the plate. I want to see that thick layer of frosting on the side smearing on the plate. I don’t want to see that half of the decadent fun that is a piece of cake is already gone or not even there. Leave that to the middle slices of a sheet cake. Think about how the surprise would have been spoiled at a recent wedding down south where the Groom had the baker make the frosting for the Wedding Cake be Crimson & White in honor of Alabama while the Bride secretly had the same baker make the layers of the same cake Orange & Blue for Florida if the cake had been naked on the sides.

So please don’t give in to this latest nonsensical food trend like everyone did with Kale & Quinoa. Just say no to the Naked Cake. Be like me and say loudly & proudly…

Put Some Frosting On, You Hussy !

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20 Years Ago Today #TBT

I had just double bogeyed the first hole when I flubbed an easy greenside chip and 3 putted from 25 feet so mindset was already slightly off when I stepped up to the 2nd tee. It was 137 yard Par 3 with a wide stream to the right side of the green and large trees growing up and leaning toward the hole on the left side. To make matters worse, the pin was on the left side so you would need to skirt the trees to get it close or drop it wide right to the middle of the green and hope that your ball wouldn’t backspin back down the slope and into the stream. Having played this hole multiple times with limited to no success in the past, I planned to do what I usually did on this hole. I would no doubt pull the ball left of the green and hope for the branches to give me a fortuitous bounce. I grabbed my 8 iron and a short tee and stepped to the middle of the Men’s tee box. (This was in the day before we had a veritable rainbow of markers on every hole) I planted my tee into a spike mark first that felt too loose and then moved it an inch or two left into a firmer position. I pressed the tee into the ground until just the tip of my finger fit between the ground & my ball. (A rock hard free AIU North America Wilson Ultra in case you need to know) I stepped back, glanced at the hole, took a quick and slightly awkward practice swing while thinking to myself, “Don’t do that again”, another quick glance, waggle, tap the ground and swing.

It felt like I I hit it a little inside out or closer to the shaft than usual but it didn’t sound too bad. As I looked up to track the ball I noticed it was actually tracking right toward the flag stick. It wasn’t leaking right or pulling left and the arc was such that I didn’t think it was going to be short. As the ball reached its apex, I started to flick my eyes between the ball and the trap at the back of the green as I was sure that was where my ball was headed. But that isn’t where the ball landed. With and audible thud, the ball hit the green and spun 90 degrees to its right 2 inches and into the hole.

At first there was stunned silence. Then my father started jumping up & down like he had hit the shot. I tried to quiet him in my disbelief because people were putting back up on the 1st hole. When we got up to the green, the ballmark was huge & deep and my ball was safely nestled next to the flag stick at the bottom of the cup. I had my first and to this day, only Hole in One.

As an aside, I have played that hole countless times since that day 20 years ago and I think I have hit the green maybe 3 times and I haven’t been any closer than 10 feet and that is probably being generous.

And as for the ball I used on that fateful day ? I drove it into the woods 2 holes later never to be seen again.


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Tales From The #commute – Out of Context

I have been commuting out of the same NJ Transit train station now for almost 19 years. I have ridden a variety of trains over that time and I have seen a lot of different people at both the station and aboard the train. I have also seen a lot of the same people too. They are the people that I associate as only on existing as a part of my commute. So it is always a little bit surprising & a little bit weird to see one of those people in an out of context situation.

I bring this up because the other day I saw Weird Howard walking his dog down Main Street. Now I didn’t know Weird Howard lived in my town and I didn’t know Weird Howard owned a dog. I did have to smile however when I saw the dog. They say that owners & their dogs begin to resemble each other over time and in this case it was true. Weird Howard has a droopy faced Beagle. It is exactly the type of dog I would have expected him to have.

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The Glorious Goodness of the Pimento Cheese Sandwich – 2008 Masters Revisited

With the Masters on the horizon – it’s always good to warn the first timers

Behind The Shades...

(The Masters is this week and in 2008 I had the pleasure of attending the Thursday & Friday rounds. Here is a blog I wrote on a now defunct – at least it should be – website about my visit and the impressions that it left)

I have to admit that I have sat here trying to figure out a way to best describe the events of the past few days and truly, I am at a loss for words. As a sports fan, there are events that you participate in and there are events that you attend and then there are there are those events that you can only truly really experience….

And then there is The Masters.

Lets get one thing out of the way first before we even begin to get to the rest of the awesomeness that is Augusta. Everyone I have ever spoken to about…

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The Eggnog Latte Conumdrum

In what has become yet another corporate marketing blunder, STARBUCKS has announced that the Eggnog Latte will be available yet again this holiday season in all stores by November 17. It seems that in an effort to streamline their product line, they did not anticipate their loyal consumers’ need for yet another cloyingly sweet Holiday drink.

Now I will admit that unlike the heinous & hideous Pumpkin Spice Latte, I can actually somewhat almost barely tolerate the Eggnog Latte . I have been known to pour eggnog into my coffee at home during December but the Eggnog Latte just isn’t quite the same.

So here is my conundrum, do I go to STARBUCKS and purchase an Eggnog Latte in an effort to show the corporate suits the error in their ways yet at the same time contributing to their bottom line or do I boycott STARBUCKS (which I do daily anyway) and remain part of the silent majority getting their coffee elsewhere ? In either case, I hope the eggnog flavor suppliers who had their holiday contracts cancelled, are really sticking it to STARBUCKS now for this late order of their short in supply product.

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Too Much Pumpkin ? #NomoPumpkin

When I was growing up you did two things with pumpkins. You carved them and you made pumpkin pie. Of course, we also had to walk uphill barefoot through the snow just to manually change the channels on the TV but that is neither here nor there. Suffice to say, it was a much simpler time. Nowadays the culinary world has embraced the humble pumpkin and has been slowly, some would even say invasively, incorporating pumpkin as an ingredient into all aspects the food world. It was after I saw a review last week for Pumpkin Spice Tortilla Chips, which made me wonder if you scoop them through Pumpkin Guacamole, if maybe there weren’t too many pumpkin items out there.

Starting in early September I started to hear people talking about the return of the Pumpkin Spice Latte (available only for a limited time over the next 3 to 4 months). They spoke of it in hushed reverence. I tried to ignore the whispers as September is, while a gateway to Fall, the month that tries to hang on to the last vestiges of summer. Pumpkins seem intrusive during those final weekends at the beach, yet there they are. I started to see Pumpkin Spice Risotto & Pumpkin Spice Ravioli popping up on menus. Pumpkin Spice Soup was soon to follow and then Pumpkin Spice Chili. Pumpkin Spice Muffins & Pumpkin Spice Bagels were next. Did I really see a brunch option of Pumpkin Spice Filled French Toast and Baby Back Ribs in a Pumpkin Spice Barbecue Sauce ? I was beginning to suffer from Pumpkin Overload and it wasn’t even October yet. I was beginning to wonder how I was going to make it to Halloween at this pace. I hadn’t even started making the countless loaves of Downeast Maine Pumpkin Bread that I make every Fall.

So I went to the store to buy some plain cans of pumpkin and got assaulted with Pumpkin Spice Beer, Pumpkin Spice Ale, Pumpkin Spice Oreos, Pumpkin Spice Pasta, Pumpkin Spice Lollipops, Pumpkin Spice Whipped Topping, Pumpkin Spice Cream Cheese & Pumpkin Spice Ice Cream. I kept my back to the Yogurt section because Pumpkin Spice Greek Yogurt was just going to upset me. After trying the White Chocolate Candy Corn M&M’s last week I shuddered to think that Pumpkin Spice M&M’s could actually be lurking in the candy aisle.

So what are thoughts on the Pumpkin Craze ? Do you crave more pumpkin products or are you like me in thinking that just maybe there is too any pumpkin products ? Let me know, I am sure there more pumpkin delicacies & pumpkin disasters out there like Pumpkin Spice Truffles & Pumpkin Spice Carpaccio that I have tried not to hear about or don’t want to know about that I hope you will share with me.

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