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Joined: February 8th, 2008, 2:52 am

January 13th, 2017, 12:20 pm #11



Friday, January 13th at 9p ET

Opening the Show

There really is a state dessert, and for Massachusetts, it’s the Boston cream pie! Singer and host, Taylor Hicks, heads to the Bay State to get a mouthwatering taste of its finest and most symbolic foods.

Hit the road (and the deep sea!) with him as he shucks clams on the beach to make fresh clam chowder, goes deep sea fishing to catch striped bass for fish and chips, discovers what puts the Boston in Boston Baked Beans. He also learns the art of making traditional New England bulkie rolls.

Now about that dessert…Taylor takes you to the birthplace of the Boston cream pie and makes his own rendition.

It’s a heaping helping of Massachusetts cuisine filled with the stories and legends behind the state’s tastiest foods

Featured Plates & Food Contributors

Appetizer: Clam Chowder
Cathart Beach | Brian Cullen

President and CEO of Yoho Raw Bars & Clambakes, Brian Cullen was working construction when he started holding annual weekend clambakes on the beach of Nantucket. The event grew year after year from a fun party for family, friends and locals to a feast where fresh fish and clam chowder lovers arrived from as far away as Japan, Nicaragua and the Netherlands! Cooking on the beach was a passion, and Brian’s specialty, his wife’s grandmother’s creamy clam chowder, using fresh-shucked clams and home-cured bacon was always a big hit. When people started asking if he had a card, he realized he could turn his passion for the ocean, the beach and cooking into a catering business. Today, he serves fresh fish, lobster, muscles and, of course, his signature clam chowder at all types of events, from upscale parties to family reunions on the beach.

And if you’re wondering what Yoho means, it’s not an acronym for a trendy Nantucket neighborhood. Yoho is said to be an ancient, mythical creature, but these days the name has become synonymous with a particular social culture.

“Yoho has come to mean a breed of people who live close by the sea, collecting and celebrating its bounty and enjoying it in an unconventional but thoroughly joyous manner,” Brian says on his website.

Diggin’ for Clams: How do you know if you dug up a clam or some unidentifiable floating object at the shoreline? Clams should feel like little stones in your rake. Shucking the Clams

Entrée: Fish & Chips
Barnstable Harbor| Nick

Taylor catching 29 inch striped bass

Nick Betti and his father, Bob started Cape Cod Family Charters ten years ago. They fish Cape Cod Bay for striped bass, bluefish, and bluefin tuna, allowing corporate teams, families, groups of friends and others experience the thrill of deep sea fishing.

Now 26 years old, Nick has been fishing Cape Cod Bay since he was a child. At the young age of 15, he started as a mate, and by the time he was 21 he became captain.

The Betti’s fish May through October, but, Nick states, the fishing is fantastic the whole time.

On State Plate, you’ll meet Eric Scherer. Raised on Cape Cod, 53-year-old, mate Eric has been fishing his whole life, for both commercial and charter businesses.

The family owns two boats the smaller, Elisabeth B, and the boat featured on State Plate, the larger Escape, a 35-foot Cabo sport fishing boat that carries up to 6 people.

In addition to their website, Cape Cod Family Charters can be found on Instagram and Facebook.

Fish Tale! What’s the number 1 most sought-after fish around Cape Cod? The Atlantic Cod, of course! You’ll find a carving of the popular fish in the Massachusetts State House along with the motto: “Land of the Sacred Cod.”

Fish Tale 2! The state record for the biggest cod caught is 92 pounds on July 5, 1987

Catching Bass which can be used as a substitute for cod in Fish and Chips : Bait that the bass feed upon. The bait used on the fishing hooks mimics these little suckers

Side 1: Boston Baked Beans
Paula’s home | Paula Marcoux

A resident of Plymouth, Massachusetts, Paula Marcoux is a food historian and the author of Cooking with Fire, a cookbook that contains 100 recipes that bring out the rich flavors of cooking over a wood fire. She has worked professionally as an archaeologist, cook, and bread-oven builder. She is the food editor of Edible South Shore magazine, writes on food history topics for popular and academic audiences, and consults with museums, film producers, and publishers. She also gives regular workshops on natural leavening, historic baking, and wood-fired cooking.

A Bean Town Tradition – A Sabbath rite among the early Pilgrims and Puritans held that they should not work or cook hot meals on Sundays. Some clever settler devised a way around the rule, that still allowed them to be observant: Cook baked beans on Saturday, and leave it overnight in a hot brick oven. On Sunday they could enjoy a hot meal. Right up until the early 1900s (some say till the 1930s), baked beans and brown bread was a Sunday tradition.

Side 2: Bulkie Rolls
Bluemoon Bagels Cafe | Daniel Freedman

Daniel Freedman is a 4th generation master baker and the owner of Blue Moon Bagel Café. Dan began his career at age 11 at Green Freedman’s on Harrison Avenue in Boston where he worked with some of the area’s top Eastern European bakers.

Freedman attended baking school at the prestigious Dunwoody Institute of Minneapolis where he graduated with honors as well as a master’s course in baking technique from the San Francisco School of Sourdough Baking.

He went on to open the award-winning Freedman’s Bakery of Brookline and Boston. At the time, Freedman’s of Boston, located in Quincy Market was the highest grossing store (per square foot) in the entire United States.

After more than 35 years of baking, Daniel has developed a unique style of integrated old world techniques mixed with modern technology and methods. He has won numerous awards by various publications, including “Best Cookie” (almond macaroon), “Best Bagel,” and “Best Challah.”

His current Bakery, Blue Moon Bagel Cafe, of Medfield, Massachusetts has served the community for over 20 years, and delights its customers daily with its artisan bread, fresh bagels, and fan favorite items including the Power Booster Cookie, and the original Gilchrist Almond Macaroon made famous from Boston’s Gilchrist department store.

On a Roll! The Bulkie Roll is often compared to the Kaiser roll! But do not confuse the two, especially in Massachusetts! Bulkies are slightly crisp on top with bread that’s not chewy, sweet, yellow or egg-flavored. Kaisers are much sweeter.

Dessert: Boston Cream Pie
Omni Parker House | Lori Tower

The original Boston Cream Pie (then called a Chocolate Cream Pie) made its spectacular debut as a dessert created especially for guests at the prestigious Parker House Hotel in Boston. The inspiration for the pie dates back to colonial days, and was sometimes referred to as a Pudding-Cake Pie, which itself, may have had its beginnings in Britain.

Around 1855, Parker House chef, Monsieur Sanzian, began playing with the recipe, adding chocolate frosting on top and almond slivers around the side, and the “pie” became his masterpiece, and a part of history. Like then, today’s Boston Cream Pie is more cake than pie, but M. Sanzian’s recipe remains the same. Nobody dares alter this delectable delight, even over 160 years later.

A Pie in the Eye of the Competition! Not surprisingly, Boston Cream Pie is the official Massachusetts state dessert. But which sweets did it knock out of the game? Toll House Cookies…and Fig Newtons!

1. Angela Santiago
July 14
Taylor Hicks is here filming at the wharf today. Pretty cool ?

Omni Parker House credit to lorimaejune

credit to andrea


Cape Cod Times:

Idol alum Taylor Hicks on TV singing praises of Cape's fish

"The heart of some of Massachusetts' most iconic foods are right there on Cape Cod," Hicks, 40, said Monday in a telephone interview. The "State Plate" series on INSP network visited 12 states in its first season. The episode featuring Massachusetts airs at 9 p.m. Friday.

By Gwenn Friss

"American Idol" winner Taylor Hicks was on Cape last summer not to sing, but to sing the praises of iconic local foods - including fish and chips - for his new show, "State Plate."

"The heart of some of Massachusetts' most iconic foods are right there on Cape Cod," Hicks, 40, said Monday in a telephone interview. "And I'm such a big fan of the area. I've always enjoyed traveling through there and performing. It's just a gem of a place; the people are so warm and so nice."

The "State Plate" series on INSP network visited 12 states in its first season. The episode featuring Massachusetts airs at 9 p.m. Friday. The family-friendly network, founded in 1978, shows a mix of movies, TV shows and original programming. Check for local channels.

With Cape Cod Family Charters' Nick Betti and mate Erick Sherer at the helm of "The Escape" on July 14, Hicks set up on the back deck of the 35-foot Cabo sports fishermen craft. He caught and released several juvenile striped bass before hooking a keeper, a 29-inch specimen that weighed 10 to 15 pounds.

"He can fish. He was talking about fishing growing up and how he fishes now whenever he can," says Betti, 26, a marine engineer who works on a Gulf of Mexico oil tanker but spends the tourist season on Cape helping with his family's charter business.

Betti says the production crew from INSP wanted to fish for cod to make fish and chips, but agreed on striped bass because the water was too warm for cod when the show filmed in July.

"Erick has commercially fished for a lot longer than me. He explains the fisheries, on camera, and does a really good job," Betti said.

Returning to the charter company's dock in Barnstable Harbor, Hicks and Betti walked the striper over to Mattakeese Wharf, where the chef made it into fish and chips.

"We ate outside. It was wonderful; I loved it," Hicks said.

A partner in Saw's BBQ in his home state of Alabama, Hicks said everybody he knows cooks.

"When you're in Alabama, food is as much a part of the culture as music or anything else. Everybody gets in on cooking their own dishes. Cooking and grilling is just part of your makeup."

After winning the fifth season of "American Idol" in 2006, guitarist and songwriter Hicks returned to touring and recording with his own band, renamed the Little Memphis Blues Orchestra. He also got involved in a wide array of pursuits, playing Teen Angel in a national tour of "Grease" and playing himself, along with Ashanti and Clay Aiken, as a panel of music judges on a 2013 episode of "Law and Order, SVU."

Hicks said he'd been exploring the possibility of a food-related TV show and "State Plate" felt like the perfect fit.

After leaving Barnstable, Hicks and crew headed to Plymouth to learn to make baked beans in an outdoor wood-fired oven with author and former Plimoth Plantation food historian Paula Marcoux.

"They wanted me to represent baked beans on their 'State Plate,' so I had one batch already in the wood-fired oven, and all the ingredients on hand to make another batch."

Marcoux said she fears an unexpected ingredient, a torrential downpour that afternoon, may have left her looking like a "drowned country rat" on camera, but the beans came out well.

"It's great to see that there's interest in America's food history out there," Marcoux wrote in an email Monday. She wrote of "State Plate," "I hope viewers will feel inspired to try cooking and eating some of the wonderful local foods we New Englanders have let get away from us over the decades. It can be a revelation to go back to older takes on seemingly familiar items, like baked beans, that over the last century have been processed into pale, over-sweetened industrial versions of their former homely but delicious selves."

Cape Cod Family Charter owner Robert Betti shared a fish recipe for striper and Marcoux offers the baked beans recipe found in her book.

Capt. Bobs Italian Striper*

Small/medium size filet of striped bass (fresh)

Olive oil
Crushed tomatoes
Black olives pitted
Black Pepper
* All quantities are to taste.
Place filet in baking dish , poor mixed ingredients over filet. Bake at 350 degrees until fish is done. It will turn opaque and flake easily.

Baked Beans

Serves 8

The following recipe features ingredients and proportions authentic to nineteenth-century usage. The finished beans are savory, brothy, and complex, flavored with, more than sweetened by, molasses. They are a revelation of essential beaniness, in terms of both texture and flavor, compared to the syrupy article usually on offer. Go out of your way to find good quality dry beans. Traditional for this purpose, and for good reason, are a few heirloom varieties with excellent flavor and texture: Jacob's Cattle, Yellow Eye, Soldier, and Marfax. Salt pork made at home, or by a trusted butcher, elevates these beans yet further.

2 pounds dry beans
Teaspoon salt, or more
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon dry mustard (optional)
3 tablespoons molasses
1 medium onion (optional)
8-12 ounces salt pork

1. Twenty-four hours before you want to eat them, rinse the dry beans and put in the pot you intend to bake them in. Cover them with abundant cool water and let soak for 4 to 8 hours.

2. Parboil the soaked beans. Add more water to the beans, if necessary, so that they have at least an inch of coverage. Place them over a medium flame and bring to a very gentle simmer. Cover and cook very gently until the skins of the beans wrinkle when you dredge up a few and blow on them. This generally takes at least an hour, the time required depending entirely on the age and quality of the beans.

3. Place the salt, pepper, optional mustard, and molasses in the bean pot. Ladle in some of the bean broth and stir to combine. Add the beans and the optional onion, either chopped or whole. Cut into the rind of the salt pork in a cross-hatched pattern. Bury it just below the surface of the liquid.

4. Place into a moderately hot wood-fired oven and leave in the residual heat overnight.

Find Gwenn Friss on Twitter: @dailyrecipeCCT ... capes-fish


Dinner in Massachusetts

Appetizer: clam chowder

Entree: Baked Beans, Fish/Chips / Bulkie Roll

Dessert: Boston Cream Pie


1. Clam Chowder

a. The water ( temp and sand quality ) in Nantucket Sound is perfect for clamming.
b. Jan 21 is National NE clam Chowder Day
c. The purple layer in the clam shell was used to make jewelry by the Indians . It was also used a money ( WAMPUM ) . This "wampum" could be used to pay tuition at Harvard in the olden days.
d. Bacon, salt, potatoes are cooked in clam liquor. Add heavy / light cream. Add clams last so as not to overcook them .

2. Fish and Chips

a. any white fish can be used for fish and chips
b. Fish has to be over 28 inches long to be considered a keeper.
c. You jig the line with bait that resembles the sand eels that striped bass eat. This will get the fish to hook onto your line

3. Baked Beans

a. It takes 5 hrs to prep the ovens for cooking the beans
b. To white beans, add salt pork, black strap molasses and cook 9 hrs in the oven.

4. Bulkies ( Polish name )

a. At the turn of the 19th century bulkies were considered staples of the NE diet. They are rarer today and are known as Vienna Rolls, Keiser rolls or hard rolls in other parts of the country.

b. Dough balls are turned and hit , six times and then flattened before being baked.

5. Boston Cream Pie

a. It's a cake not a pie. Originally it was baked in a pie pan beause there were no cake pans. In the 1850's the French brought cake pans to America.
b. In 1996 The Boston Cream Pie became the official dessert of Massachusetts
c. The Omni Parker House Hotel originated the pie.
d. A pie consists of a white cake with vanilla pastry cream, toasted almonds and chocolate ganache


Joined: February 8th, 2008, 2:52 am

January 14th, 2017, 9:42 pm #12



Friday, January 20th at 9p ET

What does American Idol winner Taylor Hicks do when he’s not touring the country singing and entertaining? He goes back on the road, only this time it’s to seek out the America’s most delicious foods—state by state!

So let’s hear it for some Georgia pride! Because this week, Taylor tastes his way across Georgia on a quest to sample the state’s most emblematic foods. With the help of iconic actress Maureen McCormick, Taylor uncovers the stories behind Georgia’s traditional southern dishes.

Join Taylor as he hauls in boatloads of shrimp at a seaside dock, and Maureen learns how to mill corn into grits.
They also sample boiled peanuts at a roadside stand and discover why Georgia onions are among the sweetest in the country. For a perfect ending, they visit a pecan orchard for pecan pie and a peach orchard for peach ice cream.

Featured Plates & Food Contributors

Appetizer: Boiled Peanuts
Davis Produce Stand | Sherry Davis

The Davis Produce Stand has been in the family for three generations. Sherry Davis continues the legacy offering travelers, tourists, commuters and locals one of Georgia’s favorite treats: boiled peanuts.

Peanuts are cooked for four to five hours then soaked in salt water for about one hour. How can you tell if they’re ready to eat?

“When they’ve sunk, that’s when they’re done,” Sherry says.

Tip: The best boiled peanuts are those made from raw or “green” peanuts, harvested June through September.

Appetizer: Shrimp
Ambos Seafood | Drew Ambos

Many companies boast that they’ve been in business for two, three, four decades, and while those milestones are admirable, and certainly worth touting, the Ambos family is starting to count into the centuries! Their name has been associated with fresh, quality seafood for 150 years, starting with Henry Ambos sometime in the mid-1800s.

Today, Drew Ambos and brother, Hal are the fifth generation to carry on the family legacy as seafood dealers. Their sales include domestic, wild-caught shrimp, a variety of fish, crab and oysters.

Seafood? Georgia? Aren’t they known for peaches and peanuts? Might be time to expand the horizons!

“Shrimp is Georgia’s most valuable seafood crop, with an estimated value of 10 million dollars,” says Drew.

Trivia: What happens to the jellyfish that often get caught up in the Ambos fishing nets?
They’re dried, preserved and shipped to the Far East for consumption.

Entrée: Fried Chicken

Side 1: Vidalia Onions

You could say digging in the dirt is in Ronnie Mathis’ DNA. The son of a farmer, Ronnie knew he wanted to carry on the family legacy from the tender age of five—though, he probably didn’t know the word “legacy” at the time! Growing up on a 175-acre Georgia farm, typical dinner conversation between Ronnie, his parents and his seven brothers and sisters was always about farming practices and techniques. There was more than enough work to go around, so when five-year-old Ronnie asked to have his own garden, naturally, his father was reluctant, but he agreed to help his son start the vegetables, and stressed it would be Ronnie’s responsibility to keep the garden up—and he did. In fact, it thrived, except for that small incident when the cows got loose and ate all the corn.

Now, more than 30 years later, Ronnie is still a farmer, running his family farm, growing Vidalia onions among other vegetables, plus blueberries and blackberries, certified naturally grown. In fact, two decades ago, Ronnie ventured into organic farming, at a time when the practice was more difficult than today and long before it was trendy.

Several years ago, Ronnie and a fellow farmer, approached the local school board, administration and nutrition department about bringing healthy farm-fresh foods into the schools’ menus. Ronnie supplied produce from his farm in a test program, and it was a success. The pilot program grew to become Northeast Georgia Farm to School. Ronnie has served about 12,000 or more students with his farm’s smoothies, vegetables and fruits.

A Work of Art: The Vidalia onion is not only sweet and tasty, it’s famous, so famous it has its own museum in…you guessed it: Vidalia, Georgia!

Side 2: Grits

Before Anson Mills founder, California native, Glenn Roberts made his mark in the world of heirloom organic grains, he worked as a busboy at his mother’s restaurant (when he was a mere youngster), played French with the San Diego Youth Symphony and later fourth chair in the San Diego Symphony.

He attended the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill, a freshman, at 17 on music and science scholarships, and after graduation joined the Air Force. Still seeking adventure once his military stint was over, he sailed the world on private yachts as a navigator and mate. This was the endeavor that led to his real passion—a love of indigenous tropical foods and agriculture. Returning home, he studied architectural history and the history of food.

In 1998, he left a lucrative corporate career, rented a large metal warehouse, bought four native granite stone mills and opened Anson Mills.

Two years later, he had a good harvest 10 varieties of heirloom Southern Dent corns from which he milled grits for chefs in the Carolinas and Georgia, and as word spread, to discerning chefs around the country.

Cool Fact: Glenn’s crops are all “field ripened.” He explains the term on his website:

“We allow our crops to ripen in the field, further promoting their viability, and store them cold and fresh from the field as “new” crops to extend that viability—another practice applied since antiquity, climate permitting. Field-ripening also enhances the flavor of the grains.”

Dessert: Pecan Ice Cream
Lane Packing, LLC | Mark Sanchez

Lane Southern Orchards has been in business, growing peaches and pecans since 1908. They have about 3,000 acres of pecan groves, and ship around 2 million pecans around the world.

In 2006, Mark Sanchez joined the staff as CEO to aid with the farm’s expansion. Today, not only is Lane a working farm, but it also includes a large roadside market, a café, bakery, a pavilion and play area that may be rented out for parties, and the company has branched out into commercial sales.

In addition, the farm hosts seasonal events, including farm tours, an Independence Day picnic and patriotic celebration, strawberry picking, a pumpkin patch and a 7-acre corn maze open during their Farm Fall Festival.

In 2015, Lane Southern Orchards won a national award in the “Small Business Revolution” campaign that honors 100 of the country’s most compelling small businesses.

Though they have grown beyond the small family farm they once were, those deep, century-old roots are firmly planted in the community. Lane is one of the largest employers in their small county. They work with local hospitals and host an annual golf tournament that raises nearly $50,000 that is invested into their community.

Fun Fact: How do you get the pecans off the tree?

Shake! Shake! Shake! A worker attaches a machine to a limb and, literally, shakes the tree so the nuts loosen and come raining down!

Dessert: Peach Ice Cream
Pearson Farm | Al Pearson

The Pearson Farm has been in the family since 1885 when Moses Winlock “Lockie” Pearson and his wife, Cornelia Emory “Emma,” moved to the Fort Valley, Georgia area and planted the first peach trees. With each generation, the family acquired more land and grew more peaches.

Though Al Pearson went away to the University of Georgia, after graduation, he returned to his roots and farmed the land. Like Al, his son, Lawton, a law school graduate came home to continue the family legacy, a fifth generation peach farmer. Today the family’s peach orchard stretches across 1,500 acres. That’s a lot of peaches!

Aside from shipping their fresh peaches all over the country, Pearson Farm is also famous for their homemade peach ice cream.

Ice Cream Tip: Mary, Al’s wife is at the churn, whipping up the tasty, frosty delight! So what makes Pearson Peach Ice Cream special, aside from lots and lots of the extraordinarily sweet, fresh-picked Pearson peaches?

“…when you have a soft ice cream it doesn’t kill the peach oil because you don’t have to freeze it as hard. Frozen ice cream you lose it and you have to add artificial peach flavoring,” Mary says.

Appetizer: boiled peanuts and shrimp

Entree: fried chicken, fried onion, grits

Dessert: pecan pie, peach ice cream


1. The peanut was brought to Georgia by African Slave cooks
2. Shrimp can be caught all year long and amount to $10,000,000 a yr in revenue
3. The most valuable fruit crop in Georgia is NOT the peach, but the Blueberry. with a 250 million dollar harvest.
4. Corn turns into grits. The older the grain, the better the corn for grits. There is more flavor in GA corn due to soil and the depth of the roots
5. There are more then 40,000 farms in Georgia
6. The Vidalia onion from Vidalia , GA is the sweetest onion in the world. It is the official vegetable of GA. There are 20 counties that can market their onions as Vidalias.
7. A simple fried chicken recipe: salt and pepper the chicken , roll in flour several times , fry in Crisco and margarine ( or bacon grease ) .
8. 1/3 of the US pecans are grown in GA. Pecans have the highest level of anti-oxidants for nuts
9. Peaches were brought to GA. by Monks in 1571

Joined: February 8th, 2008, 2:52 am

January 21st, 2017, 11:54 pm #13


NEBRASKA January 27, 2017

The Columbus Telegram ... 5c06d.html

'American Idol' winner sinks teeth into local cuisine

What’s more Nebraskan than steak and corn? Maybe throw in some cheese frenchees for an appetizer and popcorn balls and kolaches for desert?

The INSP show “State Plate” hosted by "American Idol" winner Taylor Hicks filmed in Nebraska last fall so Hicks could taste some of the Husker state’s finest. “State Plate” looks at different states’ iconic dishes and the connection between a state’s agriculture and cuisine.

Hicks and the crew stopped by Johnny’s Cafe in Omaha for steak, Daniels Produce outside Columbus for sweet corn, cheese frenchees and popcorn balls and Kolache Korner Cafe in Prague for a taste of the Czech pastry.

“One of the (show) producers just called my cellphone out of the blue,” said Daniels Produce office manager Kelly (Daniels) Jackson. “Someone had referred us to them as the sweet corn producer in the state.”

The producers wanted to film the third week in September, but Daniels usually finishes harvesting its sweet corn by mid-September. So they reserved a section of crop for filming.

“I really wanted them to come out,” said Jackson. “I thought it would be really fun to talk about how it’s produced. And meet Taylor Hicks, obviously.”

The producers also asked Jackson if they could make popcorn balls at the local farm for the show. She said, why not?

“Then they asked, ‘Do you know any restaurants in Columbus or the surrounding area that serve really good cheese frenchees?’” said Jackson. “Every time I’ve had cheese frenchees it’s been homemade by my mother-in-law.”

So the whole family was recruited to prepare sweet corn, popcorn balls and cheese frenchees for the show.

When the crew arrived they headed straight to the field where Jackson’s father and brother, Andrew and Jason Daniels, showed Hicks how to operate a sweet corn chopper and harvest the crop.

“I really enjoyed going to the farms,” said Hicks. “I think we all should understand the farmers that are working hard to get food that we love on our plates.”

Hicks couldn’t wait until the corn was cooked to start eating.

“Sweet corn off of the stalk is the sweetest corn you can get. And that was something I’d never had," said Hicks, who won the fifth season of "American Idol" in 2006.

Jackson was in her office during the corn-picking segment, then got a call from the producer letting her know they were ready for her to help cook the corn and popcorn balls.

“I walk into my kitchen, the kitchen I’ve walked into every day of my life, and there’s Taylor Hicks drinking ice tea and talking football with my dad,” she said.

Hicks has been to Omaha a few times on concert tours, but hadn’t visited other parts of the state until then.

“Just the people are really, really nice,” he said. “I definitely like their passion for football.”

After cooking the sweet corn and making popcorn balls, the family and crew went to the home of Jackson's mother-in-law Kathy for cheese frenchees.

“It’s like a grilled cheese on steroids,” Hicks said of the deep-fried sandwich.

“We got all the grandkids together and they got to eat cheese frenchees with Taylor,” said Jackson. “And they’re super-excited to be on TV.”

credit to : Kelly Jackson

The honeybee may be the state insect of Nebraska, but right now, all the buzz is about singer and entertainer Taylor Hicks. In this episode of State Plate, he hits the road, and tastes his way across the Cornhusker State! His mission: to discover Nebraska’s most iconic, beloved traditional foods.

In a state known for its high-quality steak, Taylor discovers why connoisseurs love corn-feed beef, and he gets a tasty lesson in the differences in cuts of steak. You can’t be in the Cornhusker State without paying tribute to the sweet vegetable for which it’s named—corn. And Taylor does it as only he can behind the wheel of a corn topper during a sweet corn harvest. Taylor also discovers the story behind the state’s beloved cheese frenchee ... &width=560

and gets baking tips as he prepares two of Nebraska’s favorite desserts – the popcorn ball and the kolache.

It’s an overflowing plateful of Nebraska cuisine filled with the stories and legends behind the state’s tastiest foods.

Daniels Produce | Kelly Jackson

Cheese Frenchees, Corn, Popcorn Balls

A joyful taste of Cheese Frenchee

Office Manager at Daniels Produce, Kelly knows what it takes to run a family farm. Her parents Andy and Tannie Daniels have been farming for more than 40 years. Once Tannie and the kids sold produce at a roadside stand. Today they operate five retail stands throughout Nebraska and sell at six farmers markets. That’s in addition to farming more than 500 acres of sweet corn, bell peppers, cucumbers, cabbage and zucchini, among other vegetables.

The farm grows only bi-colored sweet corn that’s handpicked and hydro-cooled to preserve the natural sugars.

Be Corny in the Produce Aisle! To make sure you’re getting the freshest corn, pull back the husk and poke a kernel with your fingernail. If juice squirts and it’s slightly cloudy, the corn is fresh. If there’s no juice or it’s thick, the corn is old.

Johnny’s Cafe | Sally Kawa


In 1922, with just enough money to purchase the building next to the South Omaha Stockyards, Polish immigrant, Frank Kawa opened a small, one-room, eight-table bar serving meals to the stockyard workers and cattle haulers. The building came with a huge sign that read “Johnny’s.” With no money to replace it, Frank not only acquired a restaurant, but a new nickname, too.

Nearly 100 years later, having survived prohibition, wars, the relocation of the stockyards, Johnny’s is a bustling business and a South Omaha staple, still family-owned and operated, now, by Frank’s granddaughters, Sally and her sister Kari. The restaurant serves only USDA Prime or Choice grades of Midwest-raised, corn-fed beef, individually-selected, hand-cut and slowly aged on the premises in their own butcher shop. Johnny’s has been voted Best of Omaha for 9 straight years.

Your Steak Style: Most people are pretty particular about how their steak is cooked. Here’s an ordering guide, courtesy of Johnny’s website:

Rare – Red, cool center
Medium Rare – Red, warm center
Medium – Pink center
Medium Well – No pink
Well Done – Cooked throughout

Kolache Korner Cafe

Taking a bite of kolache

In 1983, Adolph and Gladys Nemec set up a table on the corner of Nebraska Highways 79 and 92, selling their fresh, baked pastries, including the traditional favorite, kolache—and Kolache Korner was unofficially born. The couple “employed” any number of their nine grown children, often among them, Mark. The stand was a success, and a few years later, Mark’s sister opened a retail store in town. Having been laid off from his office job, Mark agreed to help out at the store, just until he found another corporate position. Soon he realized he’d rather spend his days in a kitchen instead of a cubicle. Today, he runs the business, keeping it upbeat, warm and inviting, with good food, tasty kolache—and totally a family endeavor. And you just might hear him jamming a few polka tunes with the family band!

Put a Ring on It! The Kolache originated as a semi-sweet wedding dessert in Central Europe.

That Chech tradition of playing accordian with a pan full of kolache

Appetizer: Cheese Frenchee

Entree: Steak and Corn on the Cob

Dessert: Popcorn Balls and Kolache


1. Corn ears are sweetest at the top of the stalk ; the male reproductive organ is at the top of the stalk where the pollen is blown down to the corn silk that attaches to each kernal of corn where fertilization occurs.

2. Where is the Beef????


Porterhouse and T-Bone

Rib Eye and Prime Rib


3. Corn fed beef has the most fat and is the best tasting beef . Grass fed is leaner and less flavorful.

Joined: February 8th, 2008, 2:52 am

January 28th, 2017, 11:57 pm #14



Friday February 3, 2017 ... &width=560

Amber waves of Grain: Purple Mountain's Majesty:

It’s only fitting that Taylor Hicks should travel to Colorado. After all, the largest flat-top mountain is in Grand Mesa. Okay…you’re thinking. Well, “mesa” means table in Spanish, and what do we do at the table? Eat!

Singer and entertainer Taylor Hicks tastes his way across the Centennial State on a serious quest to discover the state’s most emblematic foods.

Things heat up in southeastern Colorado, as he roasts Pueblo green chilies then turn cool and sweet when he picks Rocky Ford cantaloupes. In Denver, he scientifically proves just how much sugar is in Olathe sweet corn. And in the heart of the Rockies, Taylor tries his hand at herding world-renowned Colorado lamb, and samples the state’s famous Rocky Mountain oysters.

It’s an overflowing plateful of Colorado cuisine with the stories and legends behind the state’s tastiest foods.

Living Water Ranch | Vanessa Stahla

Rocky Mountain Oysters & Lamb

Vanessa Stahla and husband Rex have a passion for healthy living. Before they started Living Water Ranch, they did their best to buy fresh, organic and non-GMO foods, supporting local farmers and vendors as much as they could. The biggest challenge on their healthy-eating journey was finding natural grass-fed meats that were antibiotic and hormone free.

So they bought a farm and started raising beef and lamb to their high standards—completely antibiotic- and hormone-free; roaming-at-will, grass fed and finished on their tall, sweet, foothill mountain grass. On the farm’s website, Vanessa says, she realized what “we had been missing all this time. The meats tasted so much better than any of the natural meats we had bought before.” And because the animals are not fed grain to fatten them up before slaughter, the resulting meat is lean and therefore, healthier than the average cut of other so-called natural meats.

Vanessa and Rex wanted their friends to enjoy the delicious meats, too, so they shared, and when the response was overwhelmingly positive, they started taking a selection of their grass-fed beef and lamb to local farmers markets, and during that first summer they struggled to keep up with the demand.

Today, with their three sons by their sides and the stunning Rocky Mountains in the background, Vanessa and Rex run a successful family farm.

Don’t be Sheepish…Grass-fed lamb is a nutritious lean meat. Here are ways to enjoy different cuts:

Shoulder – Stew
Shank or Breast – Braised
Lamb Chops or Rack of Lamb – Roasted or quick-broiled
Ground Lamb – Sautéed

Tony’s Market | Mick Rosacci

Olathe Sweet Corn

In 1978, driving home from church one Sunday, Tony Rosacci’s young son, Danny, pointed out an abandoned 7-11. Tony had been in the food retail business all his life, but his dream was to have his own butcher shop. Danny suggested this could be his chance, and Tony took it. He was a butcher, and had no aspirations to expand his market beyond meat. Problem was business was booming. Over the years, the family business outgrew the small shop and added services and products, including a deli, seafood, poultry, sides and more. Today, Tony’s Market has four Denver metro area stores, with Tony’s Burgers, a casual restaurant within the downtown Denver store, Tony Rosacci’s Fine Catering and TR BBQ. The family catered for the Denver Broncos for 11 years before the team built a facility with their own kitchen, and now feed the Colorado Avalanche hockey team. State Plate fans will meet Head Chef Mick Rosacci, who will share tips about Olathe Sweet Corn

All You Can Eat! During the first weekend in August every year, Olathe, Colorado hosts the Olathe Sweet Corn Festival. The price of admission includes all the corn you can eat, and apparently attendees love their corn. The festival goes through more than 70,000 ears of corn each year.

Disanti Farms

DiSanti Farms | Dominic DiSanti

The DiSanti family started farming in Pueblo, Colorado in 1890. Dominic DiSanti is a fifth generation farmer growing a variety of crops from cucumbers to cantaloupe, watermelon to winter squash and dozens of others. One of the farm’s most popular products is the medium-sized, hot Pueblo Pepper, most commonly used to make Green Chile. The DiSanti’s roast the tasty peppers throughout the season.Pueblo Pepper on the left; Mexican pepper on the right

“Words cannot describe the phenomenal smell of Fire Roasted Peppers at DiSanti Farms. Leaving you begging for tortillas or an inevitable bowl of Green Chile this aroma fills our neighborhood and is a sure sign that the summer harvest is here,” the family writes on their website.

Dominic is a graduate of Colorado State University with a B.S. degree in Soil and Crop Science and Agricultural Business. He’s on the Board of Directors of The Colorado Fruit and Vegetable Growers Association and is one of the founders of The Pueblo Chile Growers Association, an organization dedicated to building awareness of the Pueblo Chile Pepper.

Too Hot to Handle! Was that pepper spicier than you expected? Don’t reach for a glass of water to cool the heat. Drink milk! Milk contains casein which will bind the pepper’s hot capsaicin oil and wash it from your mouth.“ ... &width=560

Take Corn, peppers, carrots , onions and cut into pieces . Place in foil and grill or roast .

Hirakata Farms | Diane Mulligan

Rocky Ford Cantaloupe™

“We are a family farm that continues to carry on the tradition of our ancestors,” states the Hirakata Farms website.

Indeed, now, fifth generation Michael Hirakata heads up the sales department and is also chairman of the Rocky Ford Growers Association, a group of local growers committed to producing the sweetest, juiciest cantaloupe that bears the trademark name. The association also oversees the safety and integrity of the produce. One way the association brings awareness to their members’ signature cantaloupe is through the annual Rocky Ford Cantaloupe Creations Cook-Off that draws the area’s top chefs. Diane Mulligan, who introduces State Plate viewers to the exceptionally sweet melon, is a spokeswoman for the Rocky Ford Growers Association.

Sweet Talk: Want to eat healthy? No need to give up sweets! Satisfy your sweet tooth with 1 cup of cantaloupe cubes (5.5 oz.) for just 53 nutrition-packed calories.

Appetizer: Rocky Mountain Oysters
Entree: Lamb, corn , peppers

Dessert: Cantaloupe


1. There is more sweetness in corn than in most fruits. This is the devise used to measure sweetness ......

2. To get sheep into their proper places for feeding and watering , herding the sheep is essential

3. Llamas are used to keep predators away from the sheep. They can kill coyotes.

4. There are more cantaloupes in Rocky Ford Colorado than people.

5. Calves are castrated early and their testicles used for Rocky Mountain Oysters. Cut lengthwise, flatten, coat and fry .

Joined: February 8th, 2008, 2:52 am

February 6th, 2017, 11:18 pm #15


Friday, February 10th at 9p ET


Eureka! Yes, it is exciting that singer and entertainer Taylor Hicks is heading to California in this episode of State Plate! But “Eureka” is also California’s state motto translated from Greek, meaning “I found it!” The motto was adopted in 1849 and is associated with the discovery of gold. Will Taylor strike “gold” in his search for California’s most iconic foods?

As he tastes his way across the Golden State, Taylor tries his hand at harvesting artichokes and grafting avocado trees. On the coast, he learns how to make the famed San Francisco fish stew, cioppino, and tastes sourdough bread made with a special yeast that thrives in this area of the country. For dessert, Taylor shakes things up with a mechanical tree shaker in order to harvest almonds.

It’s a plateful of California cuisine filled with the stories and legends behind the state’s tastiest foods.

California Avocado Commission | Cristina Samiley


As a public relations representative for the California Avocado Commission, Cristina knows her avocados. In fact, many of the organization’s press releases include several recipes made with the rich, flavorful, nutrient-dense fruit. That’s right; avocado is a fruit. Naturally sodium and cholesterol-free, and packed with good fats, avocados also contain nearly 20 essential nutrients, including fiber, potassium, Vitamin E, B-vitamins, and folic acid. California avocados are hand-grown, nurtured and hand-picked by family farmers, some having farmed the fertile California soil for several generations. In our episode of State Plate, Christina and Taylor will put you in a party mood with a big bowl of tasty guacamole.

Touchdown! Guacamole! ... &width=560

Football fans gear up for the biggest party of the year in February! The big game! What’s in that bowl on the snack table? Guacamole! Fans will enjoy more than 45 million pounds of avocados on Super Bowl Sunday.

Ocean Mist Farms | Chris Drew

In 1924, Italian immigrants, Daniel Pieri and cousins Amerigo and Angelo Del Chiaros formed the California Artichoke & Vegetable Growers Corporation. They leased land south of Castroville, and partnered with local vegetable grower, Alfred Tottino. Their headquarters consisted of a wood and tin shed. No electricity or phone. Contracts were signed by handshake. In 1995, the company was renamed Ocean Mist Farms, now a major farming venture joined by other multi-generation farmers.

Today they are not only the largest grower of fresh artichokes in the country, but they’re still a family-owned operation. With headquarters in Castroville, California, known as “The Artichoke Capitol of the World” and home of the annual Castroville Artichoke Festival, Ocean Mist grows artichokes year-round in three of California’s most fertile farming locations: Castroville, Oxnard and Coachella. They’ve come a long way from the wood and tin shed, and as for electricity, Daniel and his cousins would probably marvel at their industry-leading field-packing and cooling technology and innovative packaging.

In our State Plate episode, Taylor gets to know Chris Drew, VP of Operations at Ocean Mist who will guide you on your adventure

All Choked Up…

What puts the “choke” in “artichoke?” Fuzz! Deep inside the center of the artichoke is a fuzzy layer that covers the heart of the vegetable. This is called the “choke.” Similar to seeds in a melon, the choke is inedible, and you’ll have to carefully scrape it off the cooked artichoke before eating.

Artichoke Heart

Claudio’s Specialty Breads | Dario Cantore
Sourdough Bread

Claudio Cantore grew up surrounded by the aroma of oven-fresh bakery items. As a child he assisted in his father’s bakery, Fratelli Cantore, in S’Antonino di Susa, a small town in the Piedmonte region of Italy.

Today, that family legacy is in the capable hands of his younger brother, and Claudio has expanded the Cantore baking legacy to The United States. A third-generation master baker, specializing in the delicate process of baking sourdough bread, Claudio and wife, Gayle, founded Claudio’s Specialty Breads in Castroville, California in 1990. They are a family-operated, award-winning wholesale bakery. In addition to sourdough, the company produces traditional Italian breads, biscotti, breadsticks and pastries, all made to order, often working with chefs to deliver exactly what they envision on their menus. Between the bakeries in the US and Italy, the Cantore family has been creating delicious baked goods for over 100 years—always family owned and operated.

In our episode of State Plate, Taylor Hicks meets with Dario Cantore, who will guide him in the fine art of baking Claudio’s famous sourdough bread.

An Ancient Food

Buttered slice of sourdough. Italian bread dipped in olive oil and balsamic vinegar. The next time you bite into a tasty piece of bread, you can thank the ancient Egyptians. Around 3,000 B.C., they invented the oven and discovered yeast leavening. ... &width=560

Phil’s Fish Market | Phil DiGirolamo

Who whipped up a heaping bowl of cioppino, took on Chef Bobby Flay on the Food Network’s Beat Bobby Flay—and won? That’s right, Phil DiGirolamo, and now Phil graces your TV screen on INSP’sState Plate, featuring the flavorful fish stew that earns accolades from customers and food critics near and far.

Phil’s Fish Market has been family-owned, an institution with its funky atmosphere and exceptional menu, for more than 30 years, serving a variety of seafood dishes, created from fresh-caught fish in Monterey Bay. Phil credits his grandparents as the inspiration for the most popular item on the menu: cioppino, a hearty meal of Dungeness crab, clams, shrimp, squid, scallops and snapper simmered in a heavenly-spiced tomato sauce. His grandfather fished the Monterey Bay for years aboard a small skiff, bringing in an abundance of the bay’s freshest fish. When it was time to eat, all the fishermen threw a sampling of their catch into one big pot, cooked it up and enjoyed. Back at home, his grandmother, Nina, perfected the savory sauce. The blend of fish and sauce is what makes Phil’s delectable cioppino stand out among others. The serving size is big—like Phil’s joyful personality. Not only does he serve his signature cioppino in his restaurant, but customers can take it to go—by the bucket!Phil uses 7 different sea food ingredients for his cioppino

Phil has some advice for people ordering his famous cioppino.

“It’s not a meal that you eat quick and run out. It’s a meal you eat with friends, with your family, you enjoy. It takes you an hour, maybe two hours. And it’s a lot of fun.”

A San Francisco Original

Some people may dispute the year cioppino was first created, but one thing sources can agree on is the location: San Francisco. One source puts the savory stew’s arrival in the late 1800s when Italian immigrants from Genoa settled in the area. While out at sea, fisherman would cook up a meal with “the catch of the day.” Soon this mouthwatering dish became a staple in the area’s many Italian restaurants.

Mandelin | Kim Vetsch


According to a 2002 Los Angeles Times article, Kim and husband Thomas fell in love under an almond tree, and so began the dream of growing almonds. Today they harvest 1,200 acres of sweet almonds for the wholesale market. In addition, Thomas and Kim offer delicious natural and blanched whole almonds, sliced almond, almond flours, sweet almond paste and colorful marzipans for consumers through the farm’s sister company, Mandelin, established in 1994. All Mandelin manufactured produces are Non-GMO, gluten free, Kosher certified and processed without any other nuts, peanuts or food items in their facilities.

To Bee or Not to Bee

Almond trees flower between February and March, but they’re not self-pollinating. They need honey bees (and other pollinators) to move the pollen between the trees and flowers for fertilization. So every spring, almond growers bring in bees from all over the state to start the process. It’s a win-win! The almonds grow, and the bees get a nutritious feast.

Harvesting is done with a machine that shakes the tree and hundreds of almonds fall to the ground for delicious tasting.

Appetizer: Guacamole Dip

Entree: Cioppino, artichokes and sourdough bread

Dessert: roasted , salted almonds


1. The avocado comes from trees that originally sprouted from one single tree. Through the grafting process , done over decades , thousands of avocado trees are now in California. The Haas Avocado is the most popular . To graft, one takes a stem from the tree and cuts a vee into the stem; then it is taped (grafted) onto a seedling and put into a nursery for a year. It is then planted outdoors.

2. The artichoke is cut before it flowers.

3. More seafood is consumed in California than any other State:

4. 99% of all Artichokes are grown in California

Joined: February 8th, 2008, 2:52 am

February 8th, 2017, 12:33 pm #16

2016 Cynopsis TV Awards
Edison Ballroom, New York City
Tuesday, February 7, 2017 ... &width=400

What better way for Cynopsis to celebrate our 20th Anniversary than by honoring the best of the best in the industry we’re so proud to cover? A reception to celebrate our two decades took place February 7 at the Edison Ballroom in New York City, followed by a dinner highlighted by the presentation of the very first Cynopsis TV Awards, saluting excellence in national television programming. Also, two special awards were presented to honorees Linda Boff, CMO for GE and Bill Koenigsberg, President, CEO & Founder for Horizon Media, for their extraordinary contributions to the industry.

The industry’s top advertising talent was celebrated at the inaugural Cynopsis Buyers & Planners Awards. Strategists, communicators and executors of campaigns were recognized for their incredible contributions across broadcast, cable and digital platforms.


Travel Channel Andrew Zimmern

In Bizarre Foods with Andrew Zimmern, the adventurous host follows the paths of famous travelers to delve deep into local delicacies.


Taylor Hicks/State Plate An INSP Original Series
Travel Channel Josh Gates


State Plate An INSP Original Series
Each episode of State Plate revolves around a different state’s most symbolic foods. Former American Idol host Taylor Hicks hosts.


Cooking Channel Cheap Eats
Cooking Channel Haylie’s America
Cooking Channel Man Fire Food
Insight Production Company Ltd. The 
Amazing Race Canada
Travel Channel Bizarre Foods with Andrew 

Travel Channel Expedition Unknown

1. Yaaaaaas!!!! #StatePlateTV is the #Cynopsis TV winner for 2017 Best Reality Travel Series!! Way to go Taylor Hicks and crew!! — with Taylor hicks and Insp.



4. Taylor sitting at the table : In rear , between pillars in the middle .

Close up