Archive for cookbook

Coconut Shrimp (China Inn Style)

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , on April 29, 2013 by groovychef

I was asked a while back to locate a recipe for a shrimp that was offered at our local Chinese Buffet. I myself happen to love this dish so now that I have a spare moment, I am all to happy to oblige.

1 can cream of coconut divided
1 lb peeled and deveined shrimp
1/4 tsp ground cayenne
1/2 tsp salt
2 cups all purpose flour
3 Tbsps heavy cream
2 Tbsps sherry
1 Tbsp flour
2 Tbsps water

Reserve 1/4 cup cream of coconut, in remaining cream of coconut add cayenne and salt, dip shrimp in coconut mixture then flour, repeat with all shrimp. Fry shrimp in hot oil until golden, drain. Heat 1/4 cup cream of coconut, heavy cream and sherry to boiling. Mix water and flour together, add to boiling mixture to thicken, serve with fried shrimp.

Here is a second one that is NOT a tempura based breading but sounded good just the same. Let me know if you try it….

Coconut Shrimp
canola oil for fryer
24 large shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 ½ cups all-purpose flour, divided
2 tablespoons sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup milk
2 tablespoons Captain Morgan Parrot Bay Coconut Rum
1 cup bread crumbs
½ cup shredded sweetened coconut

Preparation:
Heat oil to 350 degrees F.
Measure 3/4 cup flour into a medium bowl.
In a second, medium bowl combine, 3/4 cup flour, sugar and salt.
Stir rum and milk into flour mixture in the second bowl, let it stand for 5 minutes.
Combine breadcrumbs and shredded coconut into a third bowl.
Butterfly cut each shrimp before you start the battering. Use a sharp knife to slice through the top of the shrimp (where the vein was) so that you can spread the shrimp open.
Leave the tail intact.
To batter the shrimp, dip each one in the flour, then in the wet batter, then coat each shrimp with the bread crumb/coconut mixture.
Place shrimp on a plate to reserve for frying. Fry the shrimp by dropping six at a time into the hot oil for 2 to 3 minutes or until the shrimp are golden brown.

Serve with pina colada dipping sauce.

Pina Colada Dipping Sauce
½ cup sour cream
1/4 cup pina colada nonalcoholic drink mix
1/4 cup crushed pineapple
sugar to taste

Preparation:
Mix all ingredients together. Chill.

Current Projects

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , on April 25, 2013 by groovychef

Current Projects

Current Projects

Communion: Bread and Wine

Posted in Everyday Cooking with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 17, 2013 by groovychef

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Normally my days off are spent doing some serious cooking. But I woke up this morning riddled with allergies and a general exhaustion (most likely from the allergies I suffer from the Kentucky Bluegrass across the street).

So after a morning of nearly zero productivity, I finally decided to make bread.

Making bread, like making pasta, is good for the soul. It clears the brain, it clears the bad karma, it cleanses the soul.

It requires you to care for the yeast and bread [sponge] like a fertilized egg. With the right care and conditions it grows into a beautiful piece of artwork.

As the rain came down in furious sheets outside (and plenty of lightening and thunder that scared my poor furry baby), I warmed the water to the right temp and added the yeast and sugar…then I carried it out to the coffee table to watch it bloom…I did not want to miss the moment when it was perfect for adding flour.

As the afternoon droned on and the rain continued, I turned on the tv only to be hit with our President announcing that the current gun background check bill had been denied. I also realized that I could not get enough to eat (over a two hour period of time I ate two Italian sausages, a cup of crab salad, and half a carton of ice cream).

I went back to making bread….

As I did I could not help but to feel that making bread, on this dark and rainy afternoon was more of a deep cleaning then just therapy for the brain, a clearing of the karma and cleansing of the soul.

I felt more relaxed and less worried about life’s small problems then I had earlier.

After several hours (I do on occasion have yeast issues…today being one of them, I suspect the moisture in the air had something to do with it), the bread was ready to be placed in the oven and bake.

The second the bread hit the oven, I felt a sigh of relief come out and the tension in my shoulders melt away. At this point, I had tended the bread as best as I could and if it was not going to bake right, there was nothing more I could do to save it.

Later, as I sliced the warm bread and poured myself a glass of chardonnay, I realized that maybe the rain, the bread and the wine were my own private “communion.” A way to cleanse my tired soul….

 

Chili-Coco Rubbed New York Strip

Posted in Recipes with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on April 16, 2013 by groovychef

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This rub is quick and simple and perfect for last minute grilling ease. The sweetness if offset by the heat from the cayenne and chile powder while it leaves just a hint of coco flavor that adds a deep richness to the steak without making it overwhelming. Its like a Mole sauce in dry rub form.

1 Tbsp. brown sugar

2 Tsp. Kosher salt

2 Tsp. McCormicks Cocoa-Chile spice blend

1 Tsp. onion powder

1 Tsp. garlic powder

1/2 Tsp. smoked paprika

1 Tsp. Cayenne pepper

1/4 Tsp. ground cumin

1/4 Tsp. black pepper

1/4 Tsp. ground cinnamon

4 Strip Steaks (or other cut of beef of your choice)

1. Blend all spices in a small bowl.

2. Pat steaks dry and generously rub both sides of each steak with rub. Allow steaks to sit for half an hour to reach room temperature (helps to aid in even cooking)

3. Grill steaks to desired temperature.

Serves 4

 

Rum Glazed Italian Green Beans and Pearl Onions

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , on April 16, 2013 by groovychef

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2 Tbsp. butter

12 oz. pkg. frozen pearl onions

3 Tbsp. brown sugar

2 Tsp. Spiced Rum

12 oz. pkg. Italian cut green beans

1 Tbsp. butter

1 Tbsp. brown sugar

1. Melt butter in a large saute pan.

2. Add pearl onions and stir, coating with butter. Cook until onions become slightly translucent.

3. Add brown sugar and rum, and continue to cook for another 5 minutes until the liquid becomes a light caramel color.

4. Add Italian green beans and stir again, coating green beans. Continue to cook until beans are cooked though.

5. Add butter and brown sugar to finish off. Stir well until coated.

Serves 6 as a side dish.

Steak Au Poivre Sandwiches

Posted in Recipes with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 9, 2013 by groovychef

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Steak Au Poivre Sandwiches

2 lbs. Boneless beef ribs, ribeyes, or New York strip (the choice is yours)

1 Tbsp. sea salt

1Tbsp. minced garlic

1 Tbsp. butter

1/4 c. brandy

1 1/2 c. beef stock

2 Tsp. green peppercorns

1/4 c. button mushrooms wiped and sliced

1 loaf garlic bread

8 slices Swiss cheese (may use a  cheddar for a heavier robust flavor or bleu cheese for a bit more tang)

1. Mix garlic and sea salt in a small bowl and generously rub the mat with the mixture. Set aside.

2. Drop butter into a grill pan and heat on high until the butter has melted but the milk solids have not browned. Place beef in grill pan and cook on both sides until meat is firm. Ideally, medium to medium rare is perfect for this recipe as it will be finished off in the oven. When beef is done, set aside to rest. Preheat oven to 400.

3. While the meat is resting, place brandy in a medium hot saute pan (stainless steel) and ignite (flambe). Be cautious when doing this. After flame has died, add beef stock and peppercorns and continue to simmer until stock has reduced to about 1 1/2 cups. Add mushrooms and turn off heat.

4. Remove garlic bread from its wrapper and lay butter side up on cookie sheet. Thinly slice rested beef (against the grain) layer pieces on top of the bread. Pop into over for about 8 minutes, long enough to melt the butter and cook the beef until slightly pink. Remove from oven and top with cheese.

5. Place back in oven for 5 minutes more, until cheese has melted.

6. Strain Au Poivre sauce and serve with sandwich.

Cooking Notes: The garlic and sea salt rub is a technique used in Brazil for all their meats. Its a simple clean flavor allowing the flavor of the beef to shine through without all the complication of herbs and spices. Traditionally, Au Poivre is not made with cheese but I felt that this would b a great cross between a French Dip and Steak Au Poivre. Its a simple dish that can be made after a long day of work without much fuss.

I Don’t Think This is How Julia Did It

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 8, 2013 by groovychef

 

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I had every intention of posting a blog yesterday. However, I had one of those weekends where you just want to push the delete button and make the whole thing disappear.

As a chef and expo (basically I do what Gordon Ramsey does only with a little less edge), I have to have my brain completely free of random junk when I work. So I have a technique that I use to clear the “noise’ out before I head to work.

I get up, I shower, I have an energy drink, then I spend quality time cuddling with my cat so that I am relaxed and free of worry. I do not do dishes or clean the house or check the mail and usually I do not get on the computer in the morning so that my positive energy is focused on work and my head is empty (I like to refer to it as the zen spot because literally my head is empty and free of thought. If there was a camera in there it would be a black abyss). Zen allows me to hear everything that is going on around me and to process it quickly, respond fast and stay extremely focused on my job. In zen, I can read my QA’s lips, hear what the servers are saying, hear what my grill line is doing and be aware of all the things that go on at once in a busy kitchen as well as get food in the window.

I went to work Saturday morning in zen.

By 11, I had fallen….no..was PUSHED out of zen. Our open counts hit 65-75 at any given point over a two hour period. The restaurant was full and on a wait during that crucial time when we are making the transition from breakfast to lunch, which can be scary on a normal Saturday. This was not normal.

THEN came the “seeing jesus” moment every chef has at some point in their life. That moment where your brain can literally no longer process what is going on, your focus disappears and it is like an out of body experience. Your head gets swimmy, your eyes glaze over, and you can not hear anything around you other then the buzzing in your head.

These moments rarely happen for me anymore but when they do, the recovery can be hard. When you reach that point, it is like a domino effect….every ticket after that is simply a piece of paper with words on it, like hieroglyphics, and you have to decipher the code.

I like to make the joke often that its not really Jesus I see but  John Lennon, Mother Mary, and sometimes Janis Joplin. Its that trippy.

After the lunch crush, I had my usual Saturday break where I had the chance to regain composure and get my head back in zen. Second shift (dinner) is never the same level of zen for me because by then my brain is tired and has to focus a little differently since the pace is a little less aggressive.

Saturday night was not as bad…steady ebb and flow. Nice pace, not rough but rather calm.

Then Sunday morning hit. Before I even climbed out of bed I made the random decision ( and I say random because this is totally out of character for me) to email a group of Indie writers/publishers that I have been following for sometime and ask them to critique my work. I do not know what possessed me to do this-on a Sunday morning. I was not even out of bed yet. I am a big fan of stepping out of your comfort zone and exploring new things, seeking honesty in everything I do…BUT this was one of those moves that I just should have thought out first.

By the time I left my house at 7:30, I was still not in zen. My head was filled with thoughts of my grocery list, the pile of laundry I had to do, what I wanted to make for supper, and whether my new camera was going to arrive so I can start taking food pix again.

Then came the tornado. It was like an F5 on the scale of bad kitchen days. One half of my kitchen seemed to not be 100% for whatever reason (and we all have days like this), and because my mind was not cleared 100%, my fuse was a lot shorter. And it progressed-quickly.

At one point, I actually heard myself say “Ya know what? All I am hearing from you is blah blah blah”[insert the duck bill finger movement one does when they are referencing talking].

I do not know who I said it to, not even sure what brought me to that point but I know the words came out of my mouth (much less scary then the “bloody red ticket” incident a year ago where I lost complete control and screamed in my best Gordon Ramsey accent “I do not want another bloody fucking red ticket!”. I needed an exorcism after that shift).

By the time our breakfast/lunch transition took place, I had gone beyond the checkout point mentally. I was completely on mental vacation. I had seen Jesus, John, Janis, Jimi, Elvis, AND Micheal. I was at the “talking to myself” stage. The point where I hold whole complete conversations with myself out loud…hahaha.

When the shift ended, I was able to slow down and browse my email via phone. BIG mistake. HUGE mistake.

You know that old saying “be careful what you wish for…you just might get it”? Well, it applies to this.

I popped open the email from “Dave” and low and behold he gifted me with utter ugly honesty. That honesty was like the sting of 10,000 angry wasps on my pinky finger.

The words “your cover is crap” was at the start of the email.

Now I am not arguing with his email and I truly truly am thankful for his honesty. Honesty can be a motivational tool, although I do not think Julia Child ever asked a total stranger for their honesty and got it so glaringly in the face, but hey…you get what you ask for.

He said that he liked the inside (formatting issues still plague the Kindle version but I think that has to do with which one you use) and found the inside photos engaging. But the cover was crap. Now, normally, a woman might take this as a criticism to her looks. BUT I think what he was trying to express was the fact that no one was buying the book because I was the hot ticket item on the cover. They wanted food. Hmmmm…now THERE is a novel concept. Food porn on a cookbook cover. Hmmmm….

So I came home yesterday, and despite my growing need to pour the biggest martini ever, I sat down at the computer and spent the next 4 hours creating a new cover.

Then I emailed him (yes…I kept it pleasant and thanked him for the honesty).  What I wanted to tell him was that I thought he was blatantly rude and insensitive and had hurt my feelings and that he needed to learn to be nice. I wanted to tell him that he could go F@@K himself. BUT by the time I got home I was already beaten into the ground mentally and took it as sage advice from someone with more experience then myself (this is not to say that I didn’t cry a little on the car ride home). So my email to him was pleasant and to the point with no bitterness.

He liked the revision on the cover 100%.

I wish I could say with a loud resounding voice, that being a writer and a chef (cookbook author) is glamorous and exciting. That its all cooking all the time and wonderful parties. What it really is is a daily lesson in humbleness and a constant need to keep the inner self in check. A big ego is the greatest destroyer of a chef.

And that is why Julia, even til the day she died, never called herself a chef but rather a cook. Humility is a virtue we all must possess in kitchen.

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