Tuesday, June 16, 2009

The Inexpensive Filet Mignon: Flat Iron



First off I'd like to apologize to anyone following the blog that I've been absent for so long. But the other day I was walking in the supermarket and was excited to see this inexpensive cut of meat among the other cuts and realized this was a great topic to do a blog post about, to help educate others about this very delicious but unknown cut of meat.

This cut of beef comes from the Shoulder area of the beast, particularly in an area not thought to be very tender. You may have seen this steak at your grocery store but not have heard about it, it is usually referred to as "Top Blade Steak". This piece of meat has been neglected for 100s of years until 2002. Researchers found a way to cut the Top Blade section in a way that removes the hard connective tissue that runs down the middle of it. As a result, you get the 2nd most tender cut of beef on the entire cow, after filet mignon. Now, what most people don't realize, is this cut of beef generally sells for HALF of what fillet mignon sells for. Imagine eating fillet mignon for half price??? Why wouldn't you pack your freezer with this meat??



This just looks mouthwatering to me, doesn't it to you!






This is typically how grocery stores are selling them seal tight.






You will have to pay close attention to your beef as most of the time the beef processors don't get all of the connective tissues and silver skin.





I used a simple boning knife to quickly clean up the connective tissues and we had this fabulous steak for dinner for you want to guess how much for? $4 for THE WHOLE THING!




Unfortunately Costco or Sam's Club doesn't sell this cut of meat...yet.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Cookbooks I want!

One thing is for certain, people don't go into the restaurant industry to get rich, unless you're the owner of the establishment. As a recent culinary student grad from New England Culinary, I still as of yet, have not amassed a very good library of books. I spent today drooling threw 100s of cookbooks and culinary texts on Amazon.com this afternoon and have chosen 7 that I am most interested in purchasing or receiving as a gift. If you have one of these books and DON'T WANT IT anymore, let me know.

If you HAVE one of these books, and aren't looking to give it/sell it away tell me your thoughts about it. Was it worth purchasing, do you ever use the book, do you or don't you recommend paying full price for the book. The very first book on my list is Sauces by James Peterson. This book isn't a casual how to make a good BBQ sauce "Hi I'm Rachel mindless Ray" kind of book. The first several chapters go into detail about sauces and can be a bit technical for the average cook. What the book does though is help take meals to the next level. I stumbled on this book in my culinary school library and have been wanting it every since. However it's about $50 at Barnes & Noble. I know you can get books online on ebay etc for "half" price but I don't really like getting things used unless they're in excellent condition. I'm going to have to save up for it I guess.


The 2nd book on my list is the Flavor Bible by Karen Page. I have always been very unartistic when it comes to pairing food flavors. That is a major problem if someone wants to be chef. You have to be creative all the time, and it can get tiring or boring if you are uninspired, which happens to me frequently. I have to constantly be motived and curious. This book, I want because several people have recommended it to me as a guide to pairing flavors and recommendations on how to own the recipe as we say in the industry. Or, make it your own, make it different which can be hard if you don't have creativity. This book apparently helps with that with advice from Chefs from all over the country.


Everyday Italian by Giada de Laurentiis is pretty much a no brainer why I want this book. Italian food made by a gorgeous 1st generation Italian cook with her own show? Yeah, plus it comes highly recommended. She's one of the very few people on The Food Network, who can actually cook in real life. Most are just personalities like Rachel Ray. I love italian food, it would be fun to get this and try out some of the recipes.






These 2 books I have lumped together for a reason, they are both culinary classics, tried and true. Generations of people have learned how to cook using these 2 books. The first, The Joy of Cooking has been around 78 years! It's gone through 9 revisions and has nearly 4000 recipes in it. Any decent chef should have a copy, for some reason I don't yet... On Food and Cooking by Harold McGee is a super classic book that should be used as a reference guide in a kitchen. Yet another classic book, I don't know why I haven't bought a copy of yet.


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Charcuterie The Craft of Salting, Smoking and Curing is a book about a subject I am very interested in learning more about. At New England Culinary, I had a Meat Fabrication Chef who was incredible at Charcuterie. He spent 3 days once curing and making his own bacon and smoked it. It was by far the most spectacular bacon I ever had. I could only dream to ever make bacon like that again. This book is a highly recommend guide to the topic, so I'm interested in knowing your thoughts, do you own it? Have you ever heard about it?


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Alice Waters The Art of Simple foods has been on a list of mine since I started Culinary school and I haven't ever gotten a hold of it, mostly because of lack of cash. However, I find her very inspirational. She believes in taking the absolute highest quality of natural good food, and making simple food out of it. If you have read my post about The Best Pizza Restaurant Ever post about American Flatbread in Vermont, they emulate her passion and style. Her book explains things simply and teaches how to modify and substitute which is very important to being creative.




To eat meat, or not to eat meat? That is the question of this book. It examines the meat industry from all angles from what the animals eat, to how they're slaughtered etc. I've heard people call it a strong argument for becoming a vegetarian. My interest is purely curiosity. Among foodies this book comes highly recommended to educate oneself about the world of food.

So this is my current list. Do you have any of these? Do you have them and not want them? Send em to me! I'll take them off your hands. Do you have them and love them? Tell me why I should buy them. Are they so-so and should only get them used? Tell me your thoughts,

Until later,

Mormon Chef,

Matthew Glenn

Monday, March 30, 2009

The Best Pizza Restaurant...EVER!

What makes a great pizza? Good sauce? Good dough? Good ingredients? Good Value? Well, in American Flatbread's case, try all of the above. American Flatbread is the MECCA of ALL NATURAL PIZZA. Located in the downtown area of Burlington,Vermont I discovered this little place back in March of 2007 when I returned from an internship in Charleston, South Carolina. Organic everything, mostly local (regional at least) and ever so fresh. Why am I giving this restaurant total props and national free advertising? Because this is how a restaurant SHOULD BE. There are very few negatives about this place. The pizza is even cooked in a giant wood burning hearth.If I had the money to, I would live at this restaurant, that's how good their pizza is.

How good is this place? I went to the New England Culinary Institute probably one of the best Culinary Institutes in the country, and the chefs at N.E.C.I. LOVED this place. So, if other chefs are excited about your restaurant, YOU'RE GOOD. American Flatbread has a great dough recipe which makes a great pizza, we haven't had bad one yet. Their sauce has just the right amount of seasoning and isn't over powering. It's made with slow roasted, all organic, tomatoes. The dough is made from 100% organic wheat milled into white flour, locally I might add, and uses filtered water, Kosher Salt, and fresh yeasts.

Here's a sampling of their menu which is very simple, but elegant. The Medicine Wheel Pizza: Organic Tomato Sauce, with 3 cheeses & fresh herbs is a great basic pizza for the cheese lovers. The New Vermont Sausage pizza is my personal favorite: Dulcos & Thompson Farm Fresh Pork in homemade nitrate-free Maple-Fennel Sausage, baked with Sun Dried tomatoes, Caramelized Onions, Mushrooms, Cheese & Herbs. Not bad for $17.50 and it feeds at least 2 people. Pepperoni & Peppers is my 2nd favorite made with Nitrate free Pepperoni baked with Organic Green Peppers, Red Onions, Cheeses & herbs. Now, you may not be THAT impressed by these 3 pizzas, however, every week (sometimes daily) they have new pizzas that their employees create as specials. What is very cool about these, is MOST of the time they are things grown right there locally in the Burlington area. They aren't totally vegetarian either, they have specials that involve beef/steak and sometimes free range chicken.

For you NON-LDS readers, they have an incredible brewery there, where they brew 3 of their own recipe beers, right there in the restaurant. They have a window where you can see the guys working. Even more exciting for you beer lovers, is that have a huge stock of micro beers, most from Vermont locally, and even regionally. American Flatbread is located in beautiful downtown Burlington Vermont, you can see it here on google.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

America's Healthiest Restaurants????? BAH!

So the other day on Yahoo.com "Health Experts" David ZincZenko and Matt Goulding post a list of America's Healthiest Restaurants, fast food joints that is. To read the report yourself go here. Anyway, I about fell on the floor reading this. Really? Subway, McDonald's, Wendy's, Taco Bell, Chick-fil-A????? How much did these companies pay these "Health Experts"???

Now in their defense these experts are trying to help you eat at these places and eat healthy at the same time. My question is "Why Bother?" I don't eat at McDonalds and Wendy's to "eat healthy. If I want to eat health I go to a grocery store, buy the ingredients, and eat AT HOME! Replacing the Original Chicken Sandwich, fries and the milkshake at a Chick-Fil-A restaurant, with Chargrilled Chicken sandwich, fruit and water, which brings me to my question "WHY BOTHER??" I go to Chick-Fil-A TO GET A FRIGGIN Fried Chicken sandwich, Milkshake and Fries!!! If you don't want that kind of food DON'T EAT THERE!

Okay so maybe you're part of a group and everyone else is going to eat there but you're not into that kind of food, I get it you don't want to be left out. However, if you're going solo, what's the point??? There are 1000s of other local restaurants in major cities around the world far better for your health than, this list of "Healthy American Restaurants". And if you're such a health freak that you're counting calories, FRIGGIN STAY HOME!

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Heavenly Hot Cakes

Pancakes with sour cream? Delicish!

4 eggs
1/2 tsp Salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 cup cake flour
2 cups sour cream
3 Tablespoons sugar

Mix all ingredients until well blended, or even in a blender if you choose.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Back from Salisbury

He people, if anyone cares, I'm back from Salisbury. I'll have an interesting story or food recipe up soon, I'm just starting to get my life organized again.


Keep cooking!

Matthew

Monday, February 16, 2009

To Whom it may concern...

I'm sorry I haven't posted anything new in a few weeks. I've been out of town in Salisbury, North Carolina on a restaurant opening and have pretty much doing nothing but eat, sleep, breath, Olive Garden for the last 7 or 8 days....


There are some new items coming from Olive Garden that when I have a few more minutes I will blog about,

until then,

God Bless

Coming to an Olive Garden near you....

So I've mentioned already that I'm doing an opening for Olive Garden in Salisbury, NC last week and this week. I've learned a ton about the company and the standards they have and am grateful for the chance I have to be apart of the opening.

During the week I've had the chance to see some new menu items that are coming out to a Olive Garden near you:

Lasagna Frittas
: Fried Lasagna essentially. This a fried appetizer, and it's a pretty decent one at that. Platted up on a rectangle white plate with 2 ounces of Alfredo Sauce for a bed. The 3 squares are cut in half and arranged like tombstones in the sauce. Then you take 2 ounces of marinara sauce and ladle it over the top of the squares. Italian cheese blend is then sprinkled over the top of that, and it's served! It's good, though I'm not sure of the price at the moment.

Zeppoli: A dessert and basically a fried doughnut. www.allrecipes.com has a decent recipe online. On this dish, 8 pieces of dough are fried off for 3 minutes and put in a sugar bag which is shaken and put on a plate with a cup of chocolate sauce.

There is also another dessert which is pretty good and will rival the Chocolate black tie mousse.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Today's Word

Today's word from the Food Lover's Companion is important if you ever plan to visit 4 or 5 star restaurants. It's actually 2, but here it is: "Prix Fixe". 

Pronounced PREE FEEKS it is a french term meaning "fixed price", referring to a complete meal served by a restaurant or hotel for a preset price. Sometimes a menu offers several choices for each course for this set price. 

Many upscales restaurants use this type of menu to ensure they get top dollar for their meals, however this can limit the guests willing to pay the usually higher prices. Usually restaurants that use the Prix Fixe menu change their menu daily, and offer 3 to 5 courses for this fixed price. For more info on the history of Prix Fixe see wikipedia.org on the topic. 

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Today's Word

I hope this will be a regular feature on my blog as a way to educated myself and others about the culinary world. I found my copy of the Food Lover's Companion from my days at New England Culinary Institute, and decided that every day I would flip the book open and look for a random word I wasn't familiar with, and look it up. Hope you enjoy it:

Today's word is: Marmite: A tall, covered, straight-sided cooking pot from France, used for long-cooking stews and dishes such as Cassoulet and Pot-Au-Feu. It's usually made of EARTHENWARE. Petites marmites are identically shaped miniature  covered pots used as soup bowls. Here is what a Petite marmite looks like:

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Dressings: Southern Ranch

Southern Ranch Dressing:

Super tasty, Super good, and oh so un-healthy!

This recipe makes a quart of dressing:

2 Cups of Mayo
1 Cup of Sour Cream
3/4 Cup of buttermilk
1 teaspoon Onion Powder
1 teaspoon Garlic Powder
2 tablespoons of black pepper
1 tablespoon of Salt
1.5 tablespoons of fresh minced parsley 

Mix ingredients thoroughly and refrigerate when done. Makes a great dip for a Superbowl Party, or for salad dressing!

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Sounds Good: Maple Snickerdoodles

This is a fabulous recipe I have from my days up in Vermont:


Maple Snickerdoodles, don't be cheap, get the real Vermont maple not some High Fructose garbage. You'll taste the difference. 

4 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1 cup margarine, softened
3 cups white sugar
1/4 cup and 2 tablespoons REAL maple syrup (NOT GARBAGE)
2 egg
1/2 cup maple sugar 

Preheat oven to 350 F

You're gonna need 2 large bowls for this recipe (makes a lot of cookies) and a small bowl (1 cup of white sugar and 1/2 cup Maple sugar)

1st Bowl:

Flour, baking powder/Soda and cinnamon 

2nd Bowl: Softened Margarine gets lightly whipped with 2 cups of Sugar until well mixed and fluffy. Mix eggs, and Maple until incorporated. 

Gradually incorporate 1st Bowl into 2nd. 


Now if you've ever made snickerdoodles you know what to do: Make little golf ball size balls and roll em in the sugar. 

UNGREASED COOKIE SHEET

Cook for about 10 minutes. They will be a bit gooey because of maple let em cool a good 10 minutes on racks before you snack on em! 

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

More Q & A from Mormon Apologetics

I cut and paste this question and Answer from www.mormonapologetics.org because it is an important question and most people don't have a clue about cooking pork:
I love this thread! Great idea Matthew. I have a question about cooking pork. When my wife and I make pork loin or pork roast, it is tender and delicious. But when we have pork loin chops they are pretty tough. Maybe we are using the wrong recipes. I don't know. But I'd love to figure out how to make a great pork loin chop.
Well I suck at defending mormonism, might as well help feed the people who can! Do you have a cast iron pan?? This is the secret to great pork. Also, again, DON'T OVER COOK! Pork is DONE at 150ish. Better at 145. Don't temp or stick pork with anything until it has been caramelized on both sides. Use tongs not a fork. Also avoid using butter to cook it with. Use an oil with a high smoke point like Sunflower oil (450F before it starts to burn). Burning is bad. Marinading also does a world of difference, it adds flavor and moisture. I posted earlier about pork loin. If you use a cast Iron pan you can also deglaze the pan after you're done cooking it with a white wine and make awesome gravy with the flavors.

I love a well marinated cooked pork loin! Some nice glaze or sauce on top TASTY!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Question and Answers from Mormon Apologetics.org

Occasionally I get emails from people on this board about Food, Cooking and recipes. Does anyone else have questions, curiosities, or even better a recipe you'd like to share???

Chef Matthew

From Lucas_S:
Sure, I've got one. I recently roasted a few chickens for dinner for myself and a few friends, and decided to use the leftover bones and skin to make stock. All the leftover chicken parts went into a stock pot, followed by about a gallon and a half of water, an onion, a few carrots, a few stalks of celery, some peppercorns, and some fresh basil. I brought this all to a boil, then let it simmer until I thought it tasted good, which ended up being about 6 hours. I strained everything out, and then reduced it a bit further, and put some of it away in the freezer for later use, but kept the bulk of it in the fridge to make soup the next day.

Now, I understand that a certain amount of stiffening happens when stock gets cold because of the gelatin released from whatever bones you're using, but this stuff basically turned to jello. Despite being gross looking, it made really good red beans and rice. Is there any way to keep the stock from stiffening up so much?
From Chef Matthew:
Once you reduce it further it started to become glace, which is even better than stock, the flavors are more concentrated. There is 0 problem freezing stock/glace. One of my favorite chefs said she bought a fridge/freezer unit that made ice cubes so she didn't need ice cube trays anymore. So she nows them for her glace (reduced stock). She then pops a block of iced glace out when she wants to make an "instant" sauce. A great time saver. 

I would suggest if you don't like it so stiff to use it more quickly, or don't freeze it. It will keep in the fridge for about a week. However, the more you reduce it, the more concentrated it becomes, thus more jello like. However in my opinion, the better it is. 


If you can get a hold of a local butcher, try to get cow/veal NECK bones. They may cost you a bit more, but they make fabulous veal/beef stock because of all the marrow/gelatin in the neck bones. 

From LDSTORONTO: 

Yes! I'm a fairly decent 'dad' cook, but something that has eluded me for as long as I've been cooking is roast chicken. Every time I make a roasted chicken, the bird comes out looking great, but the breast meat is too dry. I've tried covering it, uncovering it, even cooking it breast-side down. So my question - How do I make a juicy roast chicken?

Thanks!

H.
From Chef Matthew:

Ever have a dry turkey at thanksgiving? Most people cook their poultry to the ungodly temperature of 185 F. YUCK! While everyone says you're supposed to cook poultry to 165 most don't know you should pull it from the oven at 155. There is a thing called "carry over cooking". The protein keeps cooking even though it has been pulled from the heating source because it's still very hot. You need to pull the chicken earlier and let it "rest". Or allow the molecules to settle. I cooked a boneless turkey I got from the Church welfare system tonight for dinner and my wife was amazed at how much juice came out when I cut into it. The reason, I only cooked it till the internal temp was about 155 with the oven at 350 F. Then I let it sit on the counter for 15 minutes before I cut into it. It was freakin tasty with potatoes and gravy! I only regret I didn't take photos to show you. Maybe next time....

Monday, December 1, 2008

Sounds Good: Buttermilk Homemade Rolls

Buttermilk Quick Hot Rolls
 
2 C lukewarm buttermilk
8 TB melted shortening or butter
3/4 C sugar
1 tsp. salt
3 tsp. baking powder
2 eggs, well-beaten
2 yeast packages, softened in 1/3 C lukewarm water
1/2 tsp. baking soda
6+ C flour
 
Mix the above ingredients together. Knead lightly. Let dough rest for 10 minutes. Roll, shape dough in desired-shaped rolls. Let rise approx. 1 hour. Bake @ 350 degrees for approx. 15 minutes. Makes about 3-4 dozen rools depending on the size of the roll.
 

A wonderful homemade buttermilk rolls recipe made for years by my Mother

Enjoy it!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Lessons learned from Gordon Ramsey: Family

LESSONS FROM RAMSEY: LESSON 1 Family




Recently, Tim Roche, a manager who I work for,  loaned me an autobiography of the world famous Chef Gordon Ramsey. A man, personally, until now, I had little respect for as a Chef. I find his shows over the top, rude, drama queen, and I don't like his in your face attitude. Things can be accomplished in the same manner through better means than yelling and cursing. Every kitchen I've been in where I had a boss who yelled and cursed, I have 0 respect for. Chef Ramsey isn't any different. 

Having read only the first chapter of his book so far, I have realized there are some lessons to be learned from this asshole of a Chef. And appreciating the family I have is lesson 1. Ramsey begins his book talking about the long abusive relationship he had with his dad. A man hell bent on ruining everyone's life, including Gordon's, it is truly sad what this Chef had to put up with growing up in life. It makes me sad to think that there are humans in the world as evil as his dad was to Gordon's family. 

My family isn't/wasn't perfect growing up. We did move around, 5 different times before my dad, Paul Glenn, died. However, there wasn't anything compared in my life to the level of abuse and hate in Gordon's family in mine. I was raised in family that cared for my well being, who wanted me to succeed and wanted only for me to do my best. The same certainly not true with Gordon. 

I would never dare to ever compare myself to Nephi of old, but I do love this scripture and in part it says some things about the way I feel about my own family:


I, NEPHI, having been born of goodly parents, therefore I was taught somewhat in all the learning of my father; and having seen many afflictions in the course of my days, nevertheless, having been highly favored of the Lord in all my days; yea, having had a great knowledge of the goodness and the mysteries of God, therefore I make a record of my proceedings in my days.


In summation, the first lesson to be learned from Ramsey: Family is important. Be good to your family, love them, help them, and try to be a good person. 

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Recommendations if you plan to visit Olive Garden

Some of you may or may not know that currently I am employed at The Olive Garden, "When you're here you're family". Which is true for the most part, at least at my location. The management at my location truly does care if you have a great experience. Having said that I would like to give my DOs, and DON'Ts, as an opinion from an employee perspective. I have had the chance to make 99.99% of everything on the menu and taste most of it. Most of the DON'Ts are because I have a problem with how the dishes are presented or their taste combos. It's not because any of them are poor quality, it's just I think they could be better. 


So lets start of with the DON'Ts. 

1) The new chicken Carbonara is a don't for several reasons. The sauce is very thick and pasty. It includes bacon bits in the paste already and then has pancetta added with red peppers. For me the taste isn't worth it. It's about a C+ to me. 

2) Stuffed Chicken Marsala: a double lobe of chicken with a cheese stuffing in the middle. Drenched in a creamy mushroom marsala sauce this dish is a no no. Most of the employees I work with have trouble getting this cooked correctly and as a result the chicken gets served very over cooked, if not burned. The mashed potatoes that are served with it are usually prepared incorrectly as well or sometimes old. The sauce can cover up a lot these weakness, but I think there are many other items worth eating on the menu to spend money on this. I give it a C- even though my wife likes it when prepared correctly. 

3) Steak Toscano: Now why on earth would ever go to an Italian restaurant and order a steak? Longhorn, at least in my area, is across the street. Getting the temperature right on this steak is often very difficult for the employees I work with because most have had little to no proper training on steak temperature. Also it comes with fried potatoes and a demi-gloss sauce. Really not worth the money. I give it a C- and you an F if you order it. 

4) Pizza: Really? You're going to eat pizza at Olive Garden? Try Pizza Hut, Dominos, or Papa Johns. You don't go to an italian restaurant and eat pizza. UNLESS you are going to get it as an appetizer and share it with people.  B- In taste and quality, D+ If you order it. 

5) Capellini Pomodora: This, to me, is the most boring dish Olive Garden serves. Angel hair pasta, marinara sauce, and a tomato basil mix. Great for vegetarians who aren't very hungry. I give it C, for being boring. 


DOs:

1) Steak Gorgonzola Alfredo: Fettucini Alfredo with spinach and gorgonzola cheese. This comes with 4 pieces of steak cooked to order. This steak is worth the price. Very tasty. I give this dish an A-

2) Lasagna Classico: Very good if done correctly. Tons of meat sauce, cheese and lasagna noodles. Super tasty. I give this dish an A. 

3) Tour of Italy: Chicken Parmesan, small portion of Lasagna, and a small portion of fettucini alfredo. Super awesome A+ and if it happens to be on special for a lower price even better. 

4) Braised Beef Tortellini:  A very nice mix of filled pasta, sauce, and meat. Beef is good, marsala sauce is decent, and the cheese tortellini is nice. B+ is about right for this dish. 

5) Seafood Alfredo: Sauteed shrimp, scallops, and fettucini alfredo. Very creamy, simple but very tasty if you like seafood. I give it an A-. 


Now it is important for the reader to know that these are my opinions and my tastes. They in no way reflect the opinions of the restaurant. Also these dishes, DON'Ts and DOs can be both bad or good depending on your local employees. Unfortunately, a good portion of Olive Garden employees don't have professional culinary training. They are however trained well enough that if they pay attention and care enough, they should be able to produce these entree's close to picture perfect. 

Enjoy!

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Sounds Good: Salmon Steaks w/Bercy Sauce, sauteed gnocchi and green beans

Today was our 6th wedding anniversary. Time flies when you're having fun! To make it special, and save money, we decided to have a 5 star meal, on a 1 star budget. 

I made the potato gnocchi again but I sauteed it this team to give it texture, color, and flavor. I also sauteed some blanched green beans with them. I used a fish stock from the grocery story to make a Veloute Sauce. Then, I took some Sauvignon Blanc wine with white onions, and more fish stock, and reduced the liquid to almost nothing, and then added it back to the Veloute Sauce. Combining them makes something called a Bercy sauce. Super tasty, on the strong side, but paired with a lightly seasoned Salmon Steak, it was awesome. 

Below are the pictures:
If you have questions or comments, PLEASE POST THEM!

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Sounds Good: Potato Gnocchi



I came across this recipe in a book we've had for a long time, I can't even remember where I got it from, called "Potatoes" practical cooking. The recipe for this potato Gnocchi is on page 112 and also includes a cheese sauce which we tried as well and it wasn't to bad. I didn't like it enough to include it in this post on my blog.

If you would like more info on the Gnocchi, see here

Ingredients:

1# of Chef's or Russet Potatoes small diced
2 Cups all purpose flour
1 Egg, beaten
1 tbsp milk
Salt n Pepper to taste
Parsley to garnish

Cook diced potatoes in boiling water for about 10 minutes. Drain well and mash potatoes until smooth and lump free. Beat in flour, egg, and milk, season with salt and pepper and kneed together until it becomes a stiff dough.

On a floured counter top, roll out snakes about a half inch thick and cut with a sharp knife about every inch of the snake. Cook in a boiling pot of salty water for a few minutes, they rise to surface when fully cooked. Be sure to have an instrument like a strainer ready to scoop them out as they get nasty if you over cook them.

Now after they're all cooked you can serve them a variety of different ways, with cream sauces, tomato based sauces. I enjoy them sauteed slightly in butter until just golden brown and tossed with Parmesan cheese.

Enjoy, please post your comments below!

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Sounds Good: Parm Crusted Tilapia








Parm Crust: Equal parts Panko Bread Crust and parmesan cheese. For 2 filets of Tilapia use:

1/8 Cup of Panko Bread
1/8 Cup of Parmesan

Mix thoroughly

Simple Béchamel Sauce: You need just barely enough to cover both filets.

1-1/2 teaspoons butter
3/4 teaspoon grated onion
3/4 teaspoon all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons chicken broth
2 tablespoons half-and-half
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon ground white pepper
1/8 pinch dried thyme
1/8 pinch ground cayenne pepper

This recipe should just yield a few ounces of sauce, about 3 ounces.

Preheat oven to 350 F.

Place filets in a non stick oven pan. Cover filets in béchamel. Cover béchamel in Parm crust completely. Cook in oven until fish is an internal temp of at least 145 and parm crust begins to brown.

Recommended sides: Rice and some sauteed vegetables (julienned carrots with broccoli)

Photos coming soon: I will show you how to make this delicious dish from a well known restaurant chain.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Sounds Good: Meat is tasty tasty murder :)

Meat, it's delicious, it provides your body with energy and it makes you strong. Just don't consume obscene amounts of it.


Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Sounds Good #14 Steak Linguine Alfredo

Unfortunately at the moment I don't have time to post the recipe, I will later tonight. For now here are the photos:

This photos what you'll need to make the recipe. I tried to make it organic as possible.


Alfredo working in the back right. Linguine bottom left. Beef bottom right.

Saute'ing the steak. Butter, Pepper, Salt.

2 Different plate presentations, 1 with everything mixed and the other with steak on top.

Close up of the bowl I thought looked more appealing!

I will add the recipe here later.


Friday, July 25, 2008

Sounds Good #13 Mushroom Risotto

Photo and recipe from www.allrecipes.com

I found this recipes at www.allrecipes.com and just love it so I'm passing it along. 

6 Cups of Chicken broth, divided
3T Olive oil, divided
1# Portabello Mushrooms - thinly sliced
1# white mushrooms - thinly sliced
2 shallots, small diced
1.5 Cups Arborio rice
.5 Cup Chardonnay wine
Sea Salt to taste
Fresh Ground pepper to taste
3T finely chopped chives
4T butter
.33 Cup grated Parm

Cook thinly sliced mushrooms in about 2T of oil in a pan. About 3 minutes. Set aside. Use a cap full of olive oil and saute the chopped shallots and cook for about 1 minute. Add rice, stir to coat the rice kernels with the oil for about 2 minutes. This is called Nacre. When the rice has become a golden color add Chardonnay and stir until wine is fully absorbed. Add broth or stock .5 Cup at a time. Continue adding until rice is au dente (not hard but not mushy). Remove from the heat and mix in mushrooms, butter, chives and cheese. Season with salt n pepper. Enjoy!

Monday, July 21, 2008

Sounds Good #12 Italian Tuscan Soup (slightly spicy)

I unfortunately do not have photos of this recipe yet.......I will add and edit this post when I have time to buy the ingredients and post photos for you. This recipe makes about 1 gallon of soup which is a lot but it's a hearty meal and if you like soup, you'll like this. 

This is a modified recipe from a restaurant chain:

1# of Ground Sausage (Try to avoid sausages that have dextrose or sugar)
2 teaspoons of Crushed Red Peppers
2 oz of Ham preferably cubed or small chunks
1/2# Onions (White or Yellow). 
2 oz of Green Onions thinly sliced
1T of Minced Garlic
4T of Chicken base
2.5 Qt Hot Water
2.5# of Russet or Chef's potatoes sliced thinly or into small cubes
1 Pint Cups of Heavy Cream
1 teaspoon of Pepper

Start a large pot on the stove on a medium-high heat and cook sausage. Use the fat from the ground up (or broken up if you wish) sausage to saute the minced garlic, pepper, crushed red peppers, green and yellow onions, and ham. 

Cook until onions become translucent without scorching other ingredients. Lower heat if necessary. Mix hot water and chicken base and stir until dissolved. De-glaze the pan by pouring the "chicken stock" into the pot to loosen anything and unlock all the flavors. Add potatoes and bring to a simmer. 

Once temperature hits at least 185 F test consistency of potatoes, to make sure fork tender (fork can enter and exit softly and with out force). Mix in heavy cream gently whisk until thickens. Once soup hits at least 185 again, turn off heat, and serve. If you wish to serve later chill rapidly till at least 32 F. When reserving make sure temperature reach again at 185. 

What I love about this recipe is that it can be modified very easily. You can make it spicy, you can make it bland, you can use bacon or no meat at all. You can add greens like spinach or collard greens for a green leafy flavor, or you and other ingredients to make it your own. 

Enjoy :) 

Saturday, July 19, 2008

5 Worst Foods for your body/10 Best

http://revistaepoca.globo.com/Revista/Epoca/0,,EMI8290-15254,00-A+BATATA+FRITA+E+UM+PESADELO+NUTRICIONAL.html

My wife found this article on the Brazilian News Network: Globo.com. It is a book written by an American by the name of Jonny Bowden. The article lists the 5 worst foods you can eat and lists the 10 best for your body. This caught my attention because unfortunately I eat 4 out of the 5 regularly!!! To make things worse I rarely eat any of the 10 Best foods for your body, according to this author. So, here are the Worst:

  1. Chips/Snacks: Full of Sugar, Trans Fat, and very little nutritional value they don't really benefit the body in any real form other than pleasure.
  2. Soda: Full of Sugar/High Fructose Corn Syrup and other chemicals. Even diet sodas are full of "sweeteners" and other chemicals that aren't found naturally.
  3. French Fries: Deep fried in oil, that is repeatedly used, it raises the fat and trans fat levels in fries. Bad for the heart. Too bad they're so tasty.....
  4. Cotton Candy: According to the author Jonny Bowden, Cotton Candy shouldn't exist. Made of pure sugar and other chemicals Cotton Candy is the only item on the list I don't eat.
  5. White Bread: Pure Carbs, white bread has no real nutritional value.




  1. Sardines: Rich in proteins, full of magnesium and other essential minerals. This kind of fish also helps out the digestive system. Bowden calls Sardines "Health Food" in a can.
  2. Cabbage: Very high in anti-oxidants.
  3. Beet leaves: Are almost always thrown away, however apparently are rich in vitamins, minerals, and anti-oxidants. Bowden also says that beets themselves are a vegetable very full of healthy vitamins and minerals. The leaves can be eaten raw just like spinach in a salad.

  4. Acai: A Brazilian fruit is one of the fruits in the world with the highest concentrate of anti-oxidants. It is also rich in Mono/Poly saturated fats that reduce cholesterol.

  5. Guava: Another fruit found in Brazil very rich in fiber, minerals and vitamins.

  6. Fresh Cherries: Very high in vitamins and contains a natural anti-inflammatory. Eaten alone or with yogurt it benefits the body.

  7. Bitter-Sweet Chocolate: Helps lower blood pressure and good for the circulatory system of the body. Contains high concentrates of magnesium.

  8. Nuts: Cashews, Peanuts, Almonds, all can raise your calorie count but they all contain lots of minerals, proteins, and are high in Omega 3 & 9.

  9. Cinnamon: Helps control sugar and cholesterol in the blood.

  10. Pumpkin seeds: Full of Magnesium. They are so full of magnesium Bowden says that French studies conclude that men with high levels of magnesium have a 40% chance of suffering from premature death as compared to those with lower levels. Toast them and eat them whole. The shell is very rich in fiber.
Well, unfortunately, in my personal diet, I include very few of these items. I love chocolate, but unfortunately, not bitter-sweet. I've eaten pumpkin seeds, but I'm not a huge fan of them. I love Guava Juice but at the moment it is very expensive, about $3 a liter. I love cinnamon but usually on baked goods. I love cherry flavoring, and even the cocktail cherries but don't regularly eat them.

As far as the 5 worst things to eat, I consume 4 of them regularly and will have to do what I can to limit or eliminate them from my diet.