Tag Archives: InCity Yum Yums

🍀🍀St. Patrick’s Day Yum Yums and March Musings by Chef Joey

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Chef Joey!🍀🍀🍀🍀💚

Papa Joey and some of his family!

Gigi celebrates her birthday in March. This fab cake was not baked by Chef Joey, but by a neighbor who adores Gigi! WE ALL DO!❤ Happy Birthday, pretty Lil’ One!!

Go, little girl, go!!!🌸🌻🌹🌺💐

It’s March!

Text, photos and recipes by Chef Joey

Can you even believe it is March?! And March 1 was the first day of Lent – kicking off my “Plan B” of the New Year Resolutions for the 40 days of Lent. I gave up giving up for my Lenten resolution!😉 February was such a tease – brilliant snow storms and record heat … Welcome to New England! So as commences our Lent and what Christianity taught us leading up to “Fat Tuesday” or Mardi Gras, we are done with the fats and in with the lean!

This year is odd because the entire month of March is during Lent, except March 17 – the one meat-eating “sin day” allowed by the Catholic church because, after all, St. Patrick saved Ireland in the 1600s, and it would be a shame to forget him!

meat …

Lent also reminds me of LENTils! Lentils are wonderful! They are so nutritious and inexpensive and HEALTHY, it is not even funny! The protein and fiber alone in lentils should make them a weekly staple in your diet. So instead of making corned beef this St. Patrick’s Day, you can eschew animal suffering and make a tasty dinner with the same ingredients – minus the meat. You will save yourself money – and your waistline!

So instead of a corned beef and cabbage soup – try a Barley and Legume Soup …

It’s easy to make, oh so healthy and it costs less that $10 to feed 8 people!

You will need:

9 cups (basically a ½ gallon of stock) or water with Bouillon.

You can buy “better than Bouillon” – a jar of paste that has no MSG, and it will last you a few recipes. Knorr has individual ones, as well. You can go the extra mile and boil any kind of veggies, onions, garlic and fennel down to make stock.

Also, this recipe calls for beans. If you buy dried beans, they go a very long way! A ½ cup soaked beans turns into 1 cup of regular beans after expansion.

What’s in the soup? Here is a list:

4 tbsp olive oil

1 onion chopped small (the smaller the pieces the faster they cook)


2 cloves garlic, minced

1 cup cannelli beans (presoaked or canned)

1 cup soya beans (presoaked or canned)

½ cup chic peas (presoaked or canned) – also called garbanzo beans

¼ cup lentils

½ cup barley

salt and pepper

In a sauté pan, add 2 tbsp oil and the garlic and onion.

While doing this, in a soup or stock pot, bring your stock to a boil.

Sauté the onions and garlic about 10 minutes on a low heat until they start to turn brown.

Add the barley and lentils and coat them with the mixture.

Add all the ingredients to the stock and bring to a boil, lower the heat and let it simmer for a good hour.

Just before serving add the 2 remaining tbsp of oil to the soup and season with salt and pepper to taste.



Chef Joey makes the dog food for all his pups! How cool is that?!

Another Quick Lentil Dish … “Puré de Lenticchie” – or Lentil Puree

It is very simple and costs less that $5 to make and serves 4 people. Its called Puré de Lenticchie, or Lentil Puree. You do not have to mash the lentils, but it is a great base if topped with fish or meat. Or you can enjoy it as is.

You will need:

1 ½ cups lentils soaked for 3 hours then drained

1 celery stalk

1 carrot

2 tbsp butter

1 cup heavy cream

salt and pepper to taste

Add the soaked lentils to a pan and cover with water.

Add chopped celery and carrot and bring to a boil. Lower heat and simmer for an hour.

Drain and pass through a food mill or a blender.

Use the same pan and heat the cream. Stir in the lentils, and when mixed, add the butter.

Season to taste and enjoy!

Yummy yummy in kitty’s tummy! (Joey doesn’t make his cats their cat food – but he does make them homemade kitty treats!)

🎵🎶🎵🎶 InCity Yum Yums … Peas are green. Pea soup is green. St. Patty’s Day is green. You see where this is going …

But first …


Chef Joey🍻🍀🍻🍀!

Pea Soup, Please!

Text and recipe by Chef Joey

Here is another interesting point about St. Patrick: His colors were blue! If you google “Saint Patrick,” you will soon discover his name is associated with several shades of the color blue. It was called the “Anglo-Irish Order of Saint Patrick.” Often referred to as sky blue. As it progressed in Ireland, it got darker and darker, becoming a dark rich blue that still shows in symbols of the state. However, it has morphed into green, now being the usual – but not official, mind you – color of Ireland.

Immigration does strange things to traditions, local availability, color blindness and tastier items. Let’s take corned beef and cabbage, a nice, boiled St. Patrick’s Day dinner… It’s not Irish! Traditionally, it was bacon and cabbage, as bacon was readily available. “Bacon” in England and Ireland is much leaner and more ham-like than what we have here for breakfast. It’s the same back flesh, just cut differently. The meat was readily available, as many people had farms and raised livestock, and the vegetables were usually grown as well. It was, and still is, a tasty meal, originally made with onions, turnips and carrots. Occasionally, they would use smoked bacon. What is completely different, is they would make a roux, or a white sauce made with the broth, flour, butter, milk and usually parsley.

So let’s get back to the immigration part of my story. The mid to late 19th century is the traceable origins of using corned beef to bacon, and the addition of cabbage. Like the original, it does include veggies, especially potatoes and carrots, and somehow also became known as the “New England Boiled Dinner.” Substitute a ham for corned beef and you’ve got yourself a Jigs dinner, a traditional Sunday feast in Newfoundland, Labrador and Canada.

So here is the real kicker: During Lent many people became vegetarians as tradition required. Realistically, because it was a growing season for seedlings and animals and was basically to make the ignorant let everything grow and, since you could get drunk on the 17th, who wants to take a spring lamb to slaughter? So rhymes like “Pease porridge hot, Pease porridge cold, Pease porridge in the pot nine days old!” came about.

Pease is plural for pea! Pea soup or “Pease porridge” is a low-cost and high-protein food, easily made from easily stored dried peas, and it was “Green.” Usually, boiled with salt pork or ham, it was the ideal food for sailors – and the origin of today’s ham and pea soup.

So getting back to immigration yet again, “Pease” was substituted in the new world by potatoes! Back in the “Old Country” they still eat mushy peas as a side dish with fish and “chips,” as well as with meat pies.

Peas go back to 400 BC with Greeks and Romans cultivating them. Hot pea soup was a staple of vendors on the streets of Athens back then – basic, inexpensive and unlike what we consume today extremely nutritious and full of protein and fiber. You can make these soups for less than $5 and feed 8 people. When I was a kid, my mother frequently made these soups and tossed in cubed kielbasa, hot dogs or any kind of meat as a supplement and it was often all we had for dinner. It is all we needed. She added other veggies, so it was a complete meal!

I leave you with a vegan pea (really Pease) soup recipe. Add meat, tofu, beans – whatever you want – because remember this stuff is the best! There was no fast food, just healthy food, which, ironically, is the focus of losing weight.

Pea Soup

2 1/4 cups dried split peas

2 quarts cold water

2 onions, chopped into small bits

1/2 teaspoon salt and pepper mixed

2 bay leaves

1 pinch dried marjoram

3 or 4 stalks celery, chopped

3 large carrots, chopped

1 potato, diced


1 1/2 pound ham bone
1 cup cubed ham
1 cup cubed sausage/chorizo

In a large pot, cover peas with 2 quarts cold water and soak overnight.

If you need to make a quick soup, just boil the peas for 2 minutes and then soak for l hour.

Once your peas are soaked, add all the other ingredients.

Bring to a boil and then simmer for an hour.

If you want to be decadent, sauté the onions in butter. Add your veggies – sauté for a few minutes. Then add the rest of the ingredients and cook – a whole different dimension of flavor!


Chef Joey parked in Speaking Out: Irish “Soda Bread”!🍀🍻🍀

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Chef Joey!🍀🍀🍀

Text and photos by Chef Joey

We have a few things to look forward to this month – we get to change the clocks this weekend and gain more daylight! The days have been waxing right along and now a whole extra hour to adjust to. Then, of course, we have a parade to honor the city’s Irish population for good ol’ Saint Patrick.

Little is known of Patrick’s lifeline, but it is sort of narrowed down to the second half of the 5th century – that’s a long time ago, for sure. What is known about this Saint is that he was born in what is now called Great Britain. His first name was Sucat and he was kidnapped by pirates when he was about 16 years of age. He was a slave to these Irish pirates for about six years, and he managed to escape and get back to his family.

He became a cleric and took the name Patrick, which means “nobleman” and decided to return to northern and western Ireland. Following the path, he eventually became an ordained Bishop. Unfortunately, not much is known about the places he worked – he does get credited for Christianizing the island and for being the first Bishop of Armagh, which is the of ALL of Ireland versus being the Bishop of Dublin.

So Patrick is known as the “Apostle of Ireland” and is the patron saint of Ireland, out showing poor Brigit and Columbia.

What makes his day so special?

It is actually the day of his death. Indecently, Patrick was so sacred it took two centuries to celebrate because it was a sacrilege to mention his name! Well, the real reason I believe is that it falls during Lent, and Catholics lifted the restrictions on eating and drinking alcohol for the day. This religious miracle has promoted and encouraged the tradition of over consumption!

There’s more to the holiday than drinking – eating is a big part of the celebrations. And what meal goes without bread?

So here is an Irish “Soda Bread” to whet yer whistle!

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It is actually a quick bread and its roots go back far by mixing cake or pastry flour, baking soda and buttermilk, causing a chemical reaction to make bubbles in the bread.


4 cups all-purpose flour

4 tablespoons white sugar

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 tablespoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup butter softened

1 cup buttermilk

1 egg

1/4 cup butter, melted

1/4 cup buttermilk

Optional: 1 cup Soaked Raisins


Preheat oven to 375 degrees F and lightly grease a large baking sheet.

In a large bowl, mix together flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, salt and butter.

Stir in 1 cup of buttermilk and egg.

Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead slightly.

Soak the raisins in warm water for a half hour and drain them and add to the mixture, if desired.

Form dough into a round and place on prepared baking sheet.

In a small bowl, combine melted butter with 1/4 cup buttermilk.

Brush loaf with this mixture. Use a sharp knife to cut an ‘X’ into the top of the loaf.

Bake in preheated oven until a toothpick inserted into the center of the loaf comes out clean, 45 to 50 minutes.

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Check for doneness after 30 minutes.

You may continue to brush the loaf with the butter mixture while it bakes.

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Chef Joey’s Irish “Soda Bread🍀: Yum Yum!

Chef Joey in Rose’s space … Supa Zupa!🎸

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Soup’s on!

Text, photos and recipes by Chef Joey


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Soup (and photo) by Chef Joey!

Ok, why is society so hooked on “ON SALE” items that are mostly GMO-filled atrocities? We have the simplest ingredients that are so natural and INEXPENSIVE and loaded with protein and vitamins, but they go neglected by the mainstream.

If kale were not pushed on television, no one would know it existed. Arugula became famous in the States in the 1990s. Odd. Thank you, Travel Chanel. Now Quinoa is a super food … oldest grain in the world. Thank you, cooking shows.

Here are two recipes using Old World ingredients. The stock can be made homemade – so I will give you three recipes actually. … Or you can use canned and up your food cost by a couple dollars.

The base of these dinners for six is less than $10 per person. These recipes are all VEGAN, back to the earth. Thank our ancestors because that’s why we are here. And stop taking shortcuts on nutrition!

Vegetable Broth

2 potatoes chopped

2 leeks cleaned and chopped

2 carrots peeled and chopped

2 onions peeled and chopped

2 turnips peeled and chopped (cut in half, then slice, then cut slices)

2 celery stalks, chopped

a handful of cherry tomatoes sliced in half


Place all the veggies in a pan with 7 cups of water. Bring to a boil and lower the heat to simmer, for another 30 minutes.

Let it “rest” for another 15 minutes.

Take a potato masher and press down on the veggies. Strain the mixture into a bowl – and there is your stock for six people. Double or triple, as necessary.

Recipe 1 – Garbanzo (chic pea) and Spinach Soup

4 tbsp olive oil

1 onion chopped

1 celery stalk chopped

1 carrot chopped

1 cup garbanzo beans (cooked are cheaper 89 cents a pound = 3 pounds cooked) $1 a can/cup

3 cups spinach, chopped fine

1 cup soup pasta (ditalini is my favorite)

Salt and pepper

Here is the easy part: bring the stock to a boil. In a sauté pan add 3 tbsp oil and the carrots, onion and celery and sauté 5 minutes until soft.

Add the spinach and salt, pepper mix and cook an additional 5 minutes.

Add this and the beans to the stock and cook for a half hour.

Then add the pasta to cook for 6 or seven minutes to al dente because it will continue to swell. Drizzle with 1 tbsp oil and serve.

Pal Joey’s pal eating veggies!

Recipe 2 – Swiss Chard and Lentil Soup

Foot note: lentils are dry beans and need to be soaked for 3 hours before cooking OR boiled for 45 minutes in water prior to using. Also: cooked lentils substitute nicely for any meat in a recipe!

6 cups veggie stock

4 tbsp olive oil

1 onion chopped

1 large clove of garlic chopped

1 celery stalk chopped

1 carrot peeled and chopped fine

1 bag (12 oz or 16 oz) or head Swiss chard finely chopped

1 cup lentils soaked for 3 hours prior

2 tbsp (optional) or a handful of cherry tomatoes sliced

½ cup rice (I like jasmin)

salt, pepper to taste

Parmesan cheese to sprinkle on top

Swiss Chard and Lentil Soup

In a large pan bring your stock to a boil.

In a sauté pan, add the celery, onion, carrot and garlic. Cook over low heat with 3 Tbsp oil.

Add ¼ cup broth to prevent burning, for about minutes.

Add the Swiss chard and cook an additional 5 minutes or less until it wilts. Then add this to the stock, with the lentils and tomatoes (your choice). Bring to a boil.

Add the rice, then reduce heat to a simmer.

Cook for 15 minutes or so until the rice is done.

Ladle into your soup bowl and sprinkle with cheese.


Chef Joey in Rose’s space … InCity Yum Yums: February is a funny month

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Chef Joey keeps it cozy in February with tasty treats!

Text, photos and recipes by Chef Joey

February is that funny month: it is shorter than the others and has a “Leap Year” attached to it. Here in New England there can be a roller-coaster ride of seasonal activity – from mild almost spring- like weather to frost-bite severe. We seem to be mirroring storms that graced us in 2015, not as severe yet, but just as menacing.

Chef Joey’s Vinny and Mikey lounge on the couch. Spoiled babies💙!

Some useless trivia: Because February is only 28 days long, it can actually have no full moons. The last full moon in February was in 1999, and the next gap is predicted on the 2018 astrological calendar.

It also is the host month of Mardi Gras (“Fat Tuesday,” literally translated), the kick off to Lent by Ash Wednesday followed, for some people, by 40 days of giving up something (albeit excused one day for St Patrick’s Day, March 17). Ironically, Fat Tuesday is the last day of February this year on the 28th, making March 1 Ash Wednesday.

Having grown up in France, this day was a build-up event. Basically eating everything that is fattening for 7 days before the fast!

We in the south of France made crêpes. In the middle country, they made Beignets or small doughnuts, and in Northern France, folks made waffles. All three meals are synonymous with the much celebrated day. Carnivals take place all over France. Carnival is a Latin word deriving from carnelevare, literally meaning “Lift out the meat”!! The following 40 days of fasting were virtually meat-free; butter and eggs were sparse in meals, as well.

In France, February 2 is always National Crêpe day, called “La Chandeleur.” It is a family event that involves Crepes, a gold coin and a flipping contest. My grandmother would make the crepe batter, and we all got a shot at flipping our delicate pancake. Tradition has it that if you flip the crêpe successfully, you won’t have any money problems. Oh, but there is a catch! You hold the coin with the hand you write with and flip your crepe with your other hand. It keeps things fun.

So, for French Crèpes, you make a simple batter:

1 cup flour, sifted

2 eggs

½ cup milk

½ cup water

¼ tsp salt

2 tbsp soft butter

Mix the eggs and flour together …


… adding the milk and water slowly. Add the salt and butter and whisk until smooth. In a hot skillet, add a tsp of butter, or cooking oil for savory crêpes coat well. Add ¼ cup batter for each crepe and tilt the pan so the batter swirls out – the back of a ladle also helps to spread it out.

Cook for about 1 minute or until the sides are brown. Lift with a spatula to loosen it and cook the other side. Stack them on top of each other and cover with a cake pan (for height) or a piece of foil.

Crepes can be savory (salty) filled with ham and melted cheese, or sweet, say filled with Nutella or something as simple as strawberry jam.



This is the easiest cookie recipe you will ever need for your entire life! The base is magic! And the fillings are what you want. When you make them from scratch, it takes 20 minutes and costs less than 20 cents a cookie. So bake a batch for your loved ones – they are nutritious and healthy.

You can add cinnamon, raisins, chocolate chips, dried fruit, glazes, frostings. Or you can roll this cookie dough out and get creative with cookie cutters. Or just roll into small balls for the perfect cookie.

You will need:

1 pound of soft BUTTER

1½ cups sugar

3 eggs

2 ¾ cup flour

2 tsp cream of tartar

1 tsp baking soda

½ tsp salt

Mix the sugar and butter until light and fluffy …



… add the eggs and mix well.

Combine the flour, salt, baking soda and cream of tartar. Add flour mix in small batches – mix well.

Use a small ice-cream scoop to form round balls and place dough balls on an ungreased cookie sheet.

Bake for 15 mins in a 350-degree oven.

I make these cookies all the time for my foster daughter, and when she says, “Papa, I want a cookie!” I know she is getting good stuff. Tomorrow, when we’re snowed in …

Chef Joey’s backyard, winter 2015 …

… I may make a few dozen 😉!

Adopting your next dog or cat – always in style! …Meet Chef Joey’s crew … and take a look at his cinnaroll pics💚💛☕


Below: Chef Joey’s crew, all homeless and hurtin’ before Joey adopted them. Abby was thrown out of a car window! Vinny was abused and became a bellicose teddy bear❤!… Mikey needed a home so so badly! ALWAYS ADOPT!
– R.T.

Photos by Chef Joey




Vinny and Mikey

Kitty Kong and CK


Got these cinnaroll pics from Chef Joey today. Here’s his recipe (one more time💙) to go with his photos! – R.T.



Text, recipes and photos by Chef Joey

Super Bowl is amongst us again, and we are Massachusetts – the “Football Nation.” People are chatty, bets are being placed, and team spirit is at an all-time high.

So snacks are appropriate to have during the game, and what’s better than finger foods, right?

The pictures you see are of roll ups. I made these two for a sweet side, one with sugar and cinnamon, the other I added rum-soaked raisins. The joy of this snack is the fillings are endless!








For a different kind of snack, you can smear the middle with pesto and fresh mozzarella, provolone and pepperoni, Italian sausage and cheddar – the list is endless, and they can be all your favorite foods!

The whole recipe takes an hour and a half – start to finish – including the dough rising. If you are in a hurry, buy pre-made dough, but a 10-pound bag of flour is cheaper, and yeast lasts a while.

For the dough:

1 pound of dough (4 cups of flour) makes 2 rolls that yield about 14 slices each.


4 cups flour

1 packets active dry yeast or 4 tablespoons if you buy the money-saving jar

1 TBSP sugar

3 TBSP oil

1 TSP salt

WARM WATER (This varies from flour brand – for real! I like King Arthur.)

Add all the ingredients to a bowl EXCEPT THE WATER in a large bowl. Plan on 2 cups of super warm water but not hot, as you do not want to kill the yeast.

Keep adding the water until dough is malleable and basically dough-like.

Add additional flour if necessary.

Kneed for a few minutes until smooth – cover and place in a warm spot and let it rise for 30 minutes.

Punch the dough down, roll it out and cover and fill with your favorite filling.

Roll the dough up like in the pictures and cover it again and let it rise for another ½ hour.

Place in a pre-heated oven 375 degrees and bake for approximately 15 minutes.

Let cook and slice and serve! So easy! A recipe for life!

💖 Go ahead and make a pizza crust or form it into a loaf of Italian bread!

For the bread brush with olive oil and sprinkle with parmesan, or add pitted Kalamata olives for a rustic bread – your possibilities are endless. A 10 pound bag of flour for $8 makes a good 20 loaves or 30 pizzas or 20 roll ups – cheap – easy and DELICIOUS!

Breakfast Rolls:

2 sticks of butter melted – ½ cup sugar and 2 tsp cinnamon – mix and spread it our between the 2 rolls roll and when they are baked – brush with a glaze of ¼ cup melted sugar and 1/16 cup water – brush on cooked buns and serve.

For chilly winter afternoons …

Chef Joey shared this recipe with you last year…This Italian soup may be just the ticket to glide through these cold winter days!

Pasta e Fagiole

Recipe and photos by Chef Joey

This is a simple pasta and bean soup – Pasta e Fagiole – quick, easy and delicious!

Enjoy – and stay warm!


2 large onions diced


4 cloves of garlic, chopped fine


½ stick butter or ¼ cup oil for vegan

4 cans of Cannellini beans or white navy beans or 1 bag presoaked (save the liquid!)


3 tablespoons veggie bouillon

1 large can crushed tomatoes

Package of small pasta cooked, such as Ditalini, which means baby-fingers pasta, “little digits.”

2 quarts water

In a large large pot, melt the butter and add the onions and garlic and coat.

Then add 1 cup of water so the butter/oil does not burn.

Reduce heat and add your veggie bouillon.



Add the water and all the juice from the beans but not the beans, if canned. If fresh beans, then add so they can cook.

Add crushed tomato and let simmer 20 minutes.

Add the canned beans, if using those, and simmer another 20 minutes.

Spoon cooked pasta into individual soup bowls, pour the hot soup over pasta and serve!

Who does not like a bun?

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Chef Joey☕🍷🍺🍸🍼!

Text, photos and recipe by Chef Joey

No one!

Here is a great recipe for cinnamon and/or raisin buns. You can make veggie roll ups, sausage bread or whatever you want for fillings. This is a simple, easy way to make a snack – a recipe that will stay with you for life!

There is a quick way to do this and that is to purchase bread dough – or the economical, fresh-and-tasty way: Making your own dough…

4 cups of flour

5 tablespoons of yeast

1 tablespoon sugar

¼ cup oil and warm water until above ingredients feel like dough – usually around one cup.

Mix everything together and let it rise – same with pre-made dough.

After your dough has risen, in a warm, draft-free place – covered, of course! – roll it out, following my pictures:




If you are making cinnamon buns, melt 1 stick of butter ½ cup sugar and 3 teaspoons of cinnamon.


Spread the mixture over the two sets of roll outs you get from this recipe.

It is at this point too that you can add raisins that have been presoaked or boiled for maximum plumpness.


If making something for a football party, you can layer out salami, pepperoni, crumbled cooked sausage and shredded cheese – pasta sauce – or whatever you are craving. And roll it up!

Once rolled, set it on a cookie sheet with parchment paper. If you are making a savory (salt-based) app, you can sprinkle corn meal as a nonstick surface for your treats.

Let it rise – once again in a draft-free area, lightly covered – and preferably warm (a pre-heated oven at 200 degrees works great).

Bake at 375 degrees for 15 minutes to 20 minutes – tops.

If making cinnamon rolls, brush with melted sugar and butter for a shiny effect.

When cooled, slice and serve, and you have the perfect snack.

Freeze them and pull out as many as you feel that you will need as a snack or for a party!

So here is the trivia part of buns … They basically are mini-loaves of bread that were carted around by royalty when they travelled to avoid bread crumbs in their carriages from slicing loaves of bread or breaking baguettes. The “upper crust😉” thought it was great, and the servants liked the easier clean up!🍞

More InCity Yum Yums! … FOOTBALL🏈🏈 FOOD!

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Football time = snack time, America!!!!

Text and recipes by Chef Joey

Football season is upon us, and it has traditionally been, and will continue to be, a good excuse to get together to “snack/eat” (and drink) …

pic: R.T.

… while watching the game.

Did you know that during the winter of 1960 a contest was put out to locals to submit ideas for the Boston football team’s official name?

The most popular choice — and the one that Billy Sullivan – who was the franchise developer selected — was “Boston Patriots.” Immediately thereafter, The Boston Globe artist Phil Bissell developed the “Pat Patriot” logo.

Football munching has transformed over the years – from bags of chips and orange-coated curls to a whole new level of snacks. Albeit we still have the traditional nachos and salsa …

Veggie 7 layer dip with nachos … photo: PETA.ORG

… or the foot long grinders, but now we have the birth of gastro-apps. These fancier apps look festive, allow a new dimension to the food category and are not limited to sports. They can carry over to small gatherings or cocktail parties.🍸🍸

A few finger foods with a twist:


This recipe makes 12 to 24 puffs, depending on the size of the pan used.

2 cups mashed potatoes

3 large eggs, beaten

1 cup grated cheese such as Parmesan or Swiss or, for a strong flavor Gruyere, divided

1/4 cup minced chives

1/4 cup diced cooked bacon or ham – optional

Salt and freshly ground pepper

Sour cream, to serve – also optional

Heat the oven to 400°F and lightly grease the cups of a mini-muffin tin.

Whisk together the mashed potatoes, the eggs, 3/4 cup of cheese, the chives and ham.

Season, if necessary, with salt and pepper. (The seasoning will depend on how seasoned your mashed potatoes were to begin with.)

Mound a spoonful of the mixture into each muffin cup.

Sprinkle the tops with the remaining 1/4 cup of grated cheese.

Bake for 20 minutes or until the potato cups are set, browned on top and hot through.

Cool for about 5 minutes in the pan, then use a spoon or knife to gently release them from the pan.

Serve immediately with dollops of sour cream, if desired.

Zucchini and Onion Pizza Puffs!!!

nonstick vegetable oil spray

1 10-ounce tube refrigerated pizza dough (or ½ of the dough I taught you how to make in my previous post!)

3/4 cup garlic-and-herb cheese spread (such as Boursin or Alouette), divided

3/4 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese, divided

3 tablespoons chopped fresh Italian parsley, divided

1 small red onion

1 zucchini (7/8 inches long – yellow or green). Cut it crosswise into 1/8-inch-thick rounds – divide it

Olive oil

Preheat oven to 400°F. Line baking sheet with parchment paper…spray with nonstick spray.

Unroll dough onto parchment.

Spread half of herb cheese over 1 long half of dough, leaving 1/2-inch plain border.

Sprinkle with half of Parmesan and 2 tablespoons parsley.

Using parchment as aid, fold plain half of dough over filled half (do not seal edges!!).

Spread remaining herb cheese over top

Then sprinkle with remaining Parmesan.

Remove enough outer layers of onion to yield 2-inch-diameter core… cut into 1/8-inch-thick rounds. Arrange one row of zucchini down one long side of dough.

Arrange onion rounds in row alongside zucchini. Arrange 1 more row of zucchini alongside onion.

Brush vegetables with oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Bake bread until puffed and deep brown at edges – about 24 minutes.

Sprinkle with 1 tablespoon parsley.

Go, Pats!

Not exactly a food video, but it DOES have “Saltines” in the title! – R.T.

Joey parked here … The Holiday Season: a Giving Season!

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Chef Joey

By Chef Joey

For many folks the holidays mean a time of happiness, Santa pictures, gatherings and delicious meals. …

Chef Joey donates his time and talent every Christmas – he donates and cooks all the turkeys and makes vast amounts of turkey soup and stuffing for his friend Boa’s nonprofit, the Southeast Asian Coalition. photos: Boa Newgate

… I know people who start their gift shopping as early as July! (Maybe a personal attempt to throw the spending numbers off that retailers thrive by!) Many organizations have fundraisers and the Salvation Army hand bells can be heard at just about every market and store and, of course, who says no to Toys for Tots?

I have a foster daughter this season and was invited to “Family Appreciation” day hosted by the Department of Children and Families. It was held at the DCU center (I almost typed Centrum!), and much to my surprise there were hundreds of families there! All of us had a common link: We were all foster parents. Some with one child and I met a family of four! What was amazing is the fact that everyone was there to enjoy themselves. It was a veritable “League of Nations”! There were children and parents of all ethnicities, mixed families, and when I say families, they all were together and smiling.

Santa and Mrs. Claus were there too, and there were so many families they called them up by tables of 10. And there were more than 50 tables! – just to give you an idea.

We were table 38 so we got to watch what was planned. Hats with antlers made by tracing your child’s hand and then cut out and taped to a band that fits across the forehead. Then there were the gingerbread men decorating stations. Face painting is always a hit with kids and the ice cream buffet was a guarantee that everyone would stay awake – never mind the 20 foot table of various candies!

As we got called up to meet Santa, we talked about where the children came from, how long we had them, etc. and that’s when I looked at the stage and saw a young man, say no more than 9 or 10, attempting to climb the two steps to see Santa himself, refusing help, as he had arm crutches in both arms and two very twisted legs. He was so determined to get there without assistance, you could see the effort in his face. When he reached the top he smiled. Made his way to Santa and sat on his knee, face beaming as he recited his list of whishes. Then he smiled for the camera, got up and walked across to the finish line per se where he was handed a wrapped toy, which he handed to his foster mom, who was not the same ethnicity, but had a parental smile that melted me. She gave he foster son a hug and helped him down back to the floor level and he was telling her all about it, as if she had not seen. This was a classic case of “To love and be loved is the greatest gift of all!”

After a few snacks and comradery, we left and were greeted with a table of books, crayons, coloring pencils and other complementary items that were gleefully distributed to the attendees, all passed out by volunteers. Today everyone was making a difference.

The Southeast Asian Coalition celebrates!

Meanwhile, on the other side of town, Mr. Boa D Newgate, now a Culture Broker for the Southeast Asian Coalition recently wrapped up his Thanksgiving party and was busy getting ready for Worcester First Night, where his team of Lion Dancers once again performed.



Boa’s story is simple: He was a refugee with his parents and sibling. They made it to the United States and fortunately to Worcester. Boa saw inner-city kids who were not amounting to much, so he decided to show them boxing and other activities to exercise. He made arrangements with the YMCA and had regular sessions, starting with just a few kids that grew and grew. As the expansion started so did the activities and the need for transportation.


He found a way to procure a school bus, and though tenacious work and donations, registered and insured it. He then involved at the Southeast Asian Coalition.


Go, Boa, go!!

Everyone loves and is so proud of Boa!

From their website their story is the following: The Southeast Asian Coalition of Central Massachusetts, Inc. (SEAC) was founded in 1999 and established as a non-profit agency in 2001 to address the lack of culturally and linguistically appropriate support services for Southeast Asian Immigrants in Central Massachusetts, which includes Laotians, Cambodians, and Vietnamese.

SEAC’s mission is to assist Southeast Asians in Central Massachusetts successfully integrate into mainstream society while maintaining their unique cultural identity. SEAC has developed a strong reputation both among members of our cultural community and with our partners in the community at large for being a trusted organization of first resort. Their mission is focused on education and job training.

The first Thanksgiving holiday party I attended was sparse, perhaps 25 to 30 kids. I made a turkey and all the fixings – this is back in 2009. In 2010 there were more kids and I was there as well, but now there was karate, judo, and other things being taught and the space was growing.



Last year there were very young kids that were learning the Lion Dance; they had a demonstration and explained how every move tells a story.

Those heads are heavy! Each eye can go left, right, up or down and blink!

So put the movements to a beating drum, and the magic of the dancing dragon comes alive!

Like Hula dancers with their hands and hips, all these Polynesian and Asian rituals are secretly threaded. Of course, Richard and I supplied the turkeys and again this year knowing there was to be a crowd, we made several turkeys, stuffing and a vast amount of turkey soup.

Boa was promoted to his new position, and having volunteered for years donating his own time and money. His new title is Cultural Broker, and he is working with people with mental and other physical disorders by linking and bridging communities. His focus is to transition folks to better life styles and connect to them to resources in the community so that each person feels completely normal and free of any labels due to their condition. He is a mighty man and a kindred spirit! Everyone he has helped has a smile on their face when you mention his name. The best part about Boa: he tries to make sure everyone is appeased and juggles to make it happen. And it does!







Here is a quick easy recipe for stuffing – you are going to love it!

All you need is:

2 large onions

1 bunch of celery




Bell’s seasoning tops it off.

It is a delicious and healthy and gluten free!

First, chop the onions and sautee in olive oil

Add the celery and stir until soft.

Add ½ cup raisins and 1 cup fresh cranberries and stir in 2 tablespoons of Bells seasoning.

In the meantime, cook 3 cups of oatmeal.

Add to the onion mix and stir.

Salt and pepper to taste and there you have it!😄