Thursday, March 26, 2009

For Caroline...Brulee recipe

  • 1 large egg
  • 5 large egg yolks
  • 1/2 cup sugar + 1/4 cup for the berries.
  • 3 cups heavy cream
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure almond extract
  • 1 tablespoon orange liqueur (Grand Marnier or Bouchant
  • Juice of one lemon

Add the berries, sugar and lemon juice to a bowl and toss to combine. Let sit for at least 2 hours.

Slowly combine the egg, yolks, and sugar in your mixer with the paddle attachment on low speed. You can do this by hand with a whisk just to be too aggressive. After the yolks lighten in color a bit slowly add the cream in a slow steady stream. Add the vanilla and almond. Add berries to ramekins or stoneware dish and pour the custard over them.

Place the ramekins in a baking pan and carefully pour boiling water into the pan to come halfway up the sides of the ramekins. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes at 325, until the custards are set when gently shaken. Remove the custards from the water bath, cool to room temperature, and refrigerate until firm.

To serve, spread 1 tablespoon of sugar evenly on the top of each ramekin and heat with a kitchen blowtorch or benz0matic (my favorite) until the sugar caramelizes evenly. Allow to sit at room temperature for a minute until the caramelized sugar hardens.

Dinner for the Devine.

As I mentioned yesterday I had the privileged of making dinner for a special friend of ours and her family. The circumstances leading to this were not the best but all things considered I wanted to try and give them a few moments to focus on something different. This was never an attempt to one up anybody in the rotation, this is just what I like to do. Feed me with your friendship and wisdom and I will feed you from my soul. The menu was as follows:

Coconut milk and curry roasted beef shoulder with onion, fennel,
and peppers done in a clay pot.

Shitake mushroom and fig quinoa with sage and thyme

Not pictured were some roasted pears and a dandelion and radish greens salad
with lardons and a warm bacon shallot vinaigrette

A macerated berry creme brulee with vanilla
and Bouchant

The little Devine's enjoyed a baked ziti with herbed chicken
and spinach and some cookie brownie bars.

I am hoping it gets rave reviews. There is nothing I enjoy more than spending a day in the kitchen cooking for others. Some of these were new recipes. This was also my first attempt at making a dessert without assistance from Mr. Heins or Ms. Crocker.


Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Austin Trip

Sorry about the absence. We had some sick cranky babies and the went dow n to Austin to see the Grandparents. We had a great time and got to hit some of our favorite spots. We started with lunch at Trudy's. It is almost obligatory to have a margarita or Mexican martini while there. We went out that night to see if it would really be that bad considering it was the closing weekend for SXSW. It was worse. We were going to see Dexter Freebish at the Saxon Pub but parking was a bitch. We loved the stares we got pulling up in a mini van. C'mon people. Parents gotta rock out too. We bailed on downtown since Vespaio and Gueros we packed. We decided to head for the lake and had drinks at the Hula Hut. After that we hit Slick Willie's to play some pool. Who knew my wife had some mad skills. Mad enough to win 2 of the 7 games. Good times.

We really enjoyed our time there. Since the weather was nice we took the parents to Iguana Grill to enjoy the view and some more margaritas. We got some great pics of the family. Next time we are going to head back ot Cafe Blue. This is the location but not the original incarnation of a place built and opened by a buddy named Jeff Currington and his buddy Van. It is built on the lake below the flood plane. The used cocnrete, stainless steel, and teak for the construction and sealed the electrical system so then when it flodded they could take all the equipment out. and then come back and hose it down and reopen.

Tomorrow I get the privilidge of cooking for a good friend who's dad is in the hospital. I am planning a nice clay pot roast with curry and coconut, mushroom and fig quinoa, a dandelion and radish salad with a warm bacon shallot vinagrette, and a macerated berry brulee. I am also doing a nice baked ziti for the kiddos. I will let you know how it turns out.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Holy Spit!

I solemnly swear that at some point this year I will spit roast a whole pig and we shall have a kick ass Luau! Not sure where. Not sure when. But I will keep you posted. Thanks for the inspiration Grocery Guy.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

My Choice

My mom picked up a pack of Tuldy's chili seasoning and enjoyed it. She was kind enough to bring some up to me and I was an instant convert. The combine the perfect level of spice, smoke, and richness. The recipe is simple and you can customize it how you like. Their tortilla soup mix is kick ass as well. I have not found a retailer in the DFW area yet so I stock up on our trips to Austin. They also sell online.

Achiote and Chile Pasilla Marinated Chicken Roulade

Per your requests. This was inspired by a dish I had 12 years ago from a restaurant named Xena in Austin. Unfortunately it was well ahead of its time and closed. The chicken was breaded and baked but the avocado sauce was what set it apart.


Rehydrated 4 or 5 dried chiles in water just off the boil. I used Pasilla and New Mexico for this one but you could use Arbol, Cascabel, or even Chipolte if you like. Once they have softened remove the stems and split them and discard the seeds. I bought and ground whole Annatto seeds for the achiote. I recommend buying your achiote already ground because this was a heck of an ordeal. They do not give it up easily.

Combine the chiles and achiote powder in a food processor with some vegetable oil, apple cider vinegar, salt, pepper, cumin, minced garlic, lemon zest and honey. Blend it until completely incorporated. Set aside.


Butterfly boneless skinless breasts and pound out with a mallet until they are about 1/8th of an inch thick. I usually do this in a large ziploc storage bag with a little oil in it to contain the mess. The oil helps prevent the chicken from tearing apart when pounding.

Put the breasts in a bowl or ziploc bag with the marinade and refrigerate for at least 4 hours.

After allowing the chicken to rest don some latex gloves and lay it out on a work surface covered with plastic wrap. Achiote is commonly used as a food dye and for makeup. It will stain your skin and surfaces if exposed for a period of time. Lay down slices of Manchego, thinly sliced panchetta or seranno ham that has been browned in a saute pan (put this pan aside and don't discard the rendered fat from the ham), and sage leaves on one side of the breast. roll the breasts up and remember to tuck the ends into contain the cheese. Secure with toothpicks. Set aside.

Roasted Corn Salsa-

Soak 4-5 whole ears of corn for 10-15 minutes. Toss on the grill for 12-15 minutes turning occasionally. The outsides will char but don't worry. Remove the husks and silk. Cut off the end where the husk is and stand on end. Run your knife down the sides and remove the kernels.

Peel and grate one bulb of Jicima. Dice a red and green bell pepper, 1/2 onion, shallot, and garlic. Add this to a large bowl with the corn and toss with the juice of one lime, one blood or regular orange, some chopped cilantro and a couple table spoons of olive oil. Add salt and pepper to taste. Set aside

Mashed potatoes.

Peel some white or creamer potatoes and boil in salted water until soft. Strain and set aside. Saute one diced onion, shallot and garlic in the pan previously used for browning the ham. Add a little oil if needed and salt and pepper. Cook this down for 5-7 minutes until the onions are soft. Increase the heat and add 1/2 cup of Bouchant, Cointreau, or Grand Marnier. Hold a lit match over the pan to ignite and burn off the vapors. If you cook on gas just tilt the pan and it should flare up. If you get nervous about the flames keep a lid close and simply cover the pan to put it out. Make sure all your friends are around for the show of course. After the liquid has reduced add this to the potatoes with 1/2 stick of butter, 1 cup of sour cream, 1 cup of heavy cream 1 tsp of ground mustard and 3 table spoons of horseradish. Mash this all together and a salt to taste.

Avocado Sauce-

Split and scoop out 5-6 avocados. Roughly chop or smash them up. Add to a saute pan with 3 gloves of minced garlic, 1 cup of cream, 1/2 stick of butter. Heat until just warmed through and transfer to a blender. Add a few sprigs of cilantro and some salt. Turn on and puree slowly adding 1/2 cup of olive oil and salt. If the sauce is still a little tight slowly add warm water to get the desired consistency.

Final prep-

Grill the chicken and remove when cooked through. Remove the tootpicks and slice into medalions. Put a spoonful of potatoes in the center of the plate and ladle the sauce around the rest of the plate. Place the chicken on top of the potatoes and drop some corn salsa on top. Enjoy!

Let me know if you have any questions or suggestions.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

My Choice

Every cook has his workhorses. You 10 inch sautee pan, your bag o' magic spices, and of course your knife. I received my first Global for Christmas 9 years ago. I dropped it on my bare foot the first time I used it and almost severed the tendon to my big toe. Since then it has served me well and cut me very rarely. It is lighter and less fatiguing than my heavier Henckels and Wusthoffs and the balance is great. The handle provides great grip even though it is all metal. And the 5 degree blade angle makes a real difference.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

My Choice

The pungently aromatic bitter cherry goodness that is Campari. I am not sure when I first had one but I know it was a hot Texas summer day. I'll take it with soda and a lime on the rocks or in a Negroni. My affinity for bitter, sour, and salty puts this right up my alley. Now I need to figure out how to use it in cooking.

I have been asked for recipes before and while I will happily divulge to you every ingredient and technique used on thing I cannot do is tell you how much. Not that this is proprietary information or my way of keeping things to myself. I always have and always will cook by feel. With the exception making sure my 2:1 ratio of water and rice is right on, I never use measuring instruments. This is the reason I don't bake as well. Way to tedious.

Below is a snapshot of one of my menus with the "recipes." It is more a list of ingredients to keep my on track and keep me from accidentally omitting something in the event I have a couple of glasses of wine during preparation.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Supper Club Recap

Last night went pretty darn well if I do say so myself. The food came out great which was a relief after a disastrous trial run the night before. Chuck brought some great wines including on of my favorite new producers. If you can find their wines do partake.

The Ladies

The Gents

The Food

Kissing the cook is always appreciated, but spanking him. Now that's what I'm talking about!

The Menu

Achiote and Chilie Pasilla marinated chicken roulade with panchetta, sage, and Manchego cheese over horseradish and Bouchant mashers and an avacado cream sauce. Topped with a roasted corn and Jicama salsa.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Kitchen note:

Buy you Achiote already ground. Annatto seeds don't like to give it up. I'm just saying.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Sunday Supper Club

A few months ago we were invited to dinner at some friends house. I am sure they were looking forward to little more than some good company over pizza and a glass of wine. But being the hospitality minded person I am I offered to cook for the four of us. I figured I would take the oppritunity to get creative and work out some culinary cramps. After all, cooking is my Yoga.

Our first dinner was simple enough. Asaigo and Swiss Chard stuffed pork chops with roasted red potatoes and a veg I don't recall. Apparently it was satisfying enough that they recommended we do this on a regular basis. Not wanting to keep it exclusive we decided to invite others. Posse peeps got top billing but we decided to keep the numbers small since I experienced cooking for the whole group at the lake house last year and that was quite the production.

Since then we have had a handful of other dinners featuring smoked Mahi Mahi and blue cheese grits with beef tenderloin tournedos and port wine reduction over sauteed greens, Pumpkin and chicken risotto, Braised beef short ribs with roasted winter veggies etc. The host couple always provides a wonderful and functional venue and the other guests bring the wine for the evening. I love this tradition because it involves good friends getting together over food and wine and I never seem to cook better than when I am with them. I am my own harshest critic but have yet to let myself down at supper club.

That being said we have another edition tomorrow night. As long as the weather holds we will be dining al fresco so I decided to lighten up the menu a bit. Tomorrow we are having:

Achiote and Chile Pasilla marinated chicken done roulade style with Seranno ham, Manchego cheese and fresh sage. Spanish Saltimboca almost.

Fire roasted corn and poblano salsa

Horseradish and Bouchant spiked mashed potatoes.

I have never done the chicken before so I will let you know how it turns out. Pics and reviews will follow.

Kids meatballs

Thanks for all the interest. I did this because we had some hamburger patties that were about to expire. Recipes are hard for me since I rarely measure anything or do the same thing twice but here goes.

1 lb. Ground beef
1/2 onion minced
1 tbl sp of minced garlic
1 shallot minced
olive oil
1/2 cup of plain yogurt
1/2 cup of cheese
1 cup of black beans or Quinoa
3 cups of bread crumbs
1/2 tsp of cinnamon
salt and pepper to taste

I make bread crumbs in my food processor by tearing up 2 or 3 pieces of bread and pulsing it 8-10 times till they are of even consistency. Sautee the onion, garlic, and shallot in oil to soften it (about 3 mins). Add all ingredients into a large bowl and mix thoroughly. Shape in to 2 inch balls and sautee in batches on the stove to brown the outsides. Put them on a baking sheet with a little cooking spray or oil and bake in a 350 degree oven for 20-25 mins.

I add the yogurt for the moisture and calcium. I left out egg since they were just at the one year old threshold for egg consumption safety. Good for anyone out there that has >1 yrs olds. Black beans have more antioxidants than blueberries and a good amount fiber. Skip these if your kids get gassy. Quinoa is a complete protein and has tons of other goodness in it. I use grated Manchego or Parmesean if I have it in the fridge. If not a regular Mexican blend is fine. Make you own bread crumbs if you can. They are so much healthier and less expensive than store bought. The cinnamon add just a little zing and has good anti-inflammatory properties.

Hope this helps. Let me know if you have any comments of I was just way of base with my measurements.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Cheffing for the week.

I have been taking time out on Sundays and Mondays to cook for the week so that the wife and kiddos have dinner in the evenings. I usually wander around Market Street of Central Mkt for an hour or so grabbing random things sometimes with a purpose and other times without. For this week's menu We have the following:

~Roasted Potatoes
~Wild Mushroom Quinoa
~Baby safe grilled chicken (easy on the seasoning for no good reason)
~Black Beans
~Black Eyed Peas
~Roasted Broccoli
~Roasted Butternut Squash
~Lil Kid Meat Balls (Groung beef with onions, bread crumbs, yogurt, garlic, salt, and spices)
~Beef Short Ribs with Gravy (One last batch before winter is over)
~Rotisserie Chicken with a Tomatillo cream sauce
~Roasted Parsnips
~Diced Cantaloupe
~Lentil Soup

Most everything I make is baby safe and baby approved. Of course I wish I would have been eating Short Ribs and Roasted root veggies when I was younger. We are so lucky that they are not picky eaters. We have yet to find a food that they do not like. This whole process usually means the stove and oven are going for at least 18 hours but on the flip side I hardly touch them for the rest of the week. The other cool thing is that or gracious baby sitters usually have some goods to enjoy while they are here. I was not aware of how anticipated my cooking and a decent glass of wine were until I was reminded by someone after taking a couple of weeks off.

I think I am going to shift my blogging focus to food since it is what I have been enjoying most. Stay tuned for some recipes and pics!