Much like the Persian polo but a little more flavorful. The crisp rice gives this dish flavor that can't be found with any spice. Adding just a touch of curry and cayenne lends itself perfectly without overwhelming the natural taste of the crusty rice. Enjoy this side dish with your choice of protein, as rice goes with just about anything you can dream up. 1 cup rice

3 tablespoons butter or margarine

1/2 small onion, minced

1/2 teaspoon curry powder

1 2 teaspoon cayenne pepper or chili powder

1 4 teaspoon salt

Pinch black pepper

In a large saucepan, heat six cups water to boiling over high heat. Add the rice and cook, uncovered for 10 minutes. Drain and rinse with cold water. Let rice sit in colander until completely drained.

During this time, add butter to a large skillet until melted over medium heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring frequently, for 10 minutes or until tender. Add cooled rice, cayenne pepper and salt and 1 4 cup water.

Stir until rice is coated with everything. Now spread out the rice mixture evenly over the bottom of the skillet, cover and cook about 20 minutes, or until the rice is tender and a crispy crust has formed on the bottom. When done, use a spatula to remove rice dish from skillet and ‘flip' onto a serving platter. Makes about four servings.

New England shredded chicken

If you don't have any molasses, simply double the brown sugar called for. Either way, this hearty ‘pulled' chicken recipe is a must for any picnic or barbecue this year. Don't just eat as is, add some Cheddar cheese(or your favorite cheese), pickle chips, dry coleslaw mix for some great crunch or dollop some of your favorite fruited salsa over the top.

1 pound raw chicken, either white or dark meat

3 tablespoons oil

1 small onion, minced

1 teaspoon minced garlic in oil

3 4 cup Applejack or hard apple cider

3 4 cup orange juice

1 2 cup apple cider vinegar

1 cup ketchup

1 4 cup brown sugar

1 4 cup molasses

1 4 cup Worcestershire sauce

Salt and black pepper to taste

4 rolls of your choice

Boil chicken in enough water to cover by three to four inches over medium heat until cooked through, about 30 minutes. Drain, transfer to a bowl, cover and let cool. Shred with your fingers or a couple of forks.

In a large saucepan, heat oil over medium until shimmering. Add onions and garlic. Cook, stirring frequently, until onions are soft, about four to five minutes. Add next eight ingredients, stirring well. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low and simmer for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Add chicken to sauce, mixing well. Bring to boiling over medium heat, stirring frequently. Remove and serve in rolls topped with shredded Cheddar, coleslaw mix and pickles on top.

Aromatic cheese drop biscuits

This recipe came to me when I was "wicked" pressed for time this past week so instead of rolling these babies out, I decided to simply plunk them down onto a baking sheet and cook them while cleaning up the rest of the mess from supper preparation. With no rolling pin to clean, no counter to scrape and no flour to dust off half the kitchen, these biscuits came out beautifully.

2 cups flour

1 tablespoon baking powder

1 tablespoon sugar

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 cup milk

1/2 cup butter or margarine, melted and cooled slightly

1 cup extra sharp Cheddar, shredded

3 tablespoons plain yogurt

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

Preheat oven to 475-degrees F. In a large bowl, stir together flour, baking powder, sugar, baking soda and salt. Add remainder of ingredients and stir to combine well. On a greased baking sheet, dollop 1/4-cup mounds of dough, leaving a couple inches between mounds. It may help to spray the inside of your measuring cup with nonstick cooking spray or dip a paper towel in oil to moisten to help prevent sticking. Bake for nine to 12 minutes, or until the tops are lightly browned and crispy. Remove drop biscuits from pan and cool on a rack or platter to prevent more browning on bottom.

Chef Jim Baley -- The Yankee Chef -- is a noted food columnist, cookbook author and the foremost New England Food Historian. He is a third generation chef and historian and lives in Maine with his wife and four children. He welcomes feedback at theyankeechef@aol.com.