<![CDATA[Chef-Think.com - Home]]>Thu, 16 Nov 2017 08:46:42 -0800Weebly<![CDATA[Chef Gord's Brute]]>Wed, 15 Nov 2017 16:05:07 GMThttp://chef-think.com/home/chef-gords-brutePicture
When I grew up in Western Canada my tastes changed dramatically after sixteen. Before that my virgin taste buds had been deprived many ethnic foods, one which was pizza. Budgets were tight and we didn’t eat out a lot. I made up for a lot of lost time after I had my first taste of pizza on a trip to Calgary in the early seventies. My last year of high school and my first years of college were spent frequenting our local hang out, Boston Pizza. Next to my favorite pizza, I became enamored with a sandwich called the Boston Brute. Though it has changed over the last forty years, I still make an effort to sample the new version of my old favorite when I visit my old hometown. The sandwich is deceptively simple, crunchy Italian bread, a slightly spicy pizza sauce, onions, cheese, and a trio of cold cuts; pepperoni, ham and salami. The trick of course is balancing everything to your own taste.


 Italian bread
 pizza sauce
 sliced onion
 ham slices
 genoa salami
 mozzerella cheese
 grated parmesan (or mix)


 1. Cut the loaf to the required length and slice in half lengthwise.

 2. Add pizza sauce to each side, then cheese on bottom half and thinly sliced onions on the top

 3. Layer slices of each of the meats, then the mozzarella and top with the grated cheese

 4. Bake open faced at 400 until the cheese is bubbly, then broil until nicely browed.  Close sandwich, press down and slice on a bias before serving.

<![CDATA[Chicken and Waffle Benedict]]>Thu, 16 Mar 2017 20:50:12 GMThttp://chef-think.com/home/chicken-and-waffle-benedictPicture
Last year I stayed at a historic bed and breakfast in Salem North Carolina. While I was there I had the pleasure to meet a lady who loved to cook. In our talking I found out her favorite dish was chicken and waffles. I told her I would create a unique breakfast dish just for her. This version of a chicken and waffle benedict. can be made by anyone who can poach an egg. To make it as simple as possible use ready to toast waffles and brown and serve breaded chicken patties. All that is left is to poach eggs and warm some maple syrup and stir in some butter. Of course if you want to go all out make your own waffles and chicken.


 2 large eggs

 2 heat and serve small waffles

 2 chicken patties

 maple syrup


 salt and pepper to taste


 1. Poach 2 eggs until the white are just set. While the eggs are poaching heat the waffles in a toaster and prepare the chicken patties as per the instructions.

 2. In a small sauce pan heat the maple syrup. When warm, whisk in the butter to your taste. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

 3. Start with a waffle, top with the chicken and a poached egg. Pour the butter syrup over the top and repeat. Serves one or two.  

<![CDATA[Eggs Benedict McMuffin Style]]>Sun, 05 Feb 2017 08:00:00 GMThttp://chef-think.com/home/eggs-benedict-mcmuffin-style Picture
 The Egg McMuffin was developed by a McDonald's franchisee Herb Petterson in the 1970's  inspired by his love for classic eggs benedict. The concept is simple replacing the poached egg with a fried egg in a mold and replacing the hollandaise sauce with a slice of processed cheese. Since making a good hollandaise sauce scares many home cooks from making their own benedicts, why take a lesson from Herb and substitute a slice of processed cheese. This is a very simple change but simplifies making a benedict so easy that any cook can make it. If you prefer a sausage McMuffin exchange a sausage patty for the Canadian bacon.


 1 large egg

 1/2 of a English muffin

 1 slice of Canadian bacon

 1 slice of processed cheese (my favorite is Velveta)


 1. Prepare a poached egg so the yolk is still soft. Keep hot.

 2. While the egg poaches, toast or grill the muffin until crispy. Grill the bacon until browned on both sides.

 3. Assemble the benedict starting with the muffin, then the bacon, then cheese and finally the poached egg.  The heat of the egg, bacon and muffin will soften and melt the cheese to replace the hollandaise sauce.

<![CDATA[Deconstructed Corned Beef Hash]]>Mon, 31 Oct 2016 16:42:06 GMThttp://chef-think.com/home/deconstructed-corned-beef-hashPicture
To deconstruct our original Corned Beef Hash we first need to define the individual ingredients. We have Corned Beef, potatoes, onion and red pepper topped with a poached egg. What we need to do next is to decide how to prepare each individual ingredient in order to make them stand out but complement each other when they are combined together. Let us start with garlic pureed potatoes, tender corned beef, cooked onions and peppers with a soft boiled egg done as a tea egg.


 1 pound tender cooked corned beef
 4 large eggs
 1/2 medium onion
 2 russet potatoes
 1/2 sweet red pepper
 1/2 poblano pepper
 fresh parsley for garnish
 1 Tbsp. chicken base (I like better then bouillon chicken base) (optional)
 4 oz. butter
 1/2-1 cup milk 
 beet juice
 3-6 Tbsp. oil
 salt and pepper to taste


 Soft boil the eggs by adding 4 eggs to already boiling water for 5 minutes. After removing the eggs place them in ice water to stop the cooking. After cooling dry the eggs and lightly crack the shells with the back of a spoon all over. Place the eggs into a container and top with beet juice for 1 day. Heat for 30 seconds in simmering water then peel the shells before serving.

 Cook the corned beef until tender, let cool and dice some into 1/2 inch cubes plus make 12 slices. Slice the onion and peppers into same size strips.

  Peel the potatoes and cut into large chunks. Put the potatoes into pan with cold water and bring to a simmer. Cook until tender then drain. Mash or rice the potatoes then stir in the butter and milk with a whisk. If you want add the chicken base. Season with salt and pepper. If you have added the chicken base be sure to taste before you add any more salt. If the mashed potatoes are too stiff whisk in more milk until you get a pancake batter consistency. Keep warm.

 In a hot skillet add some oil and cook the onion and peppers until softened. Brown the slices and cubes of corned beef and reserve.

 To assemble start with a large dollop of mashed potato. Draw a spoon though the center then add the slices of corned beef, the onions and peppers and finally the cubes of corned beef. Add the soft boiled egg. Accent with leaves of parsley and repeat for the other 3 plates. Serves 4.

<![CDATA[Gord's Lobster Mac'N Cheese]]>Wed, 26 Oct 2016 07:00:00 GMThttp://chef-think.com/home/gords-lobster-macn-cheesePicture
When I lived in Coos Bay Oregon I volunteered one day a week at the Crossroads Café, a not for profit restaurant providing low cost meals for the public. We would serve the homeless, pensioners, families, doctors, lawyers, anyone wanting a hot meal. My favorite dish had to be mac and cheese, which I would add onions and peppers to a 3 cheese blend creamy pasta. I had many people compliment me on my version, even once a pair of chefs passing through said they thought it was the best they ever had and could only be made better with some fresh lobster. At $1.50 a plate including a drink, I'm afraid lobster wasn't on the menu, but you can add it if you want. With July 4th fast approaching this will be my offering. I like to top mine with a mixture of crushed Ritz crackers, cheddar and Parmesan cheeses browned to perfection. Just for fun I will add lobster and balance the flavors so I can taste our expensive ingredient.


 2 pounds pasta (I like Cavatappi or corkscrew)
 2 pounds cooked lobster meat diced
 1 onion diced
 1 red pepper diced
 1 poblano pepper diced
 4 ounces butter
 4 Tbsp. flour
 2 cups whole milk
 1 cup heavy cream
 1 cup shredded Parmesan Cheese
 1 cup shredded sharp Cheddar Cheese
 1 cup shredded white Cheddar Cheese
 2 cups cubed Velveeta
 1 tsp. thyme
 1 tsp. ground mustard
 1/2 tsp. nutmeg
 salt and pepper to taste


  1/2 cup grated Parmesan Cheese
 1/2 cup shredded sharp Cheddar Cheese
 1/2 cup shredded white Cheddar Cheese
 crushed Ritz crackers or Panko bread crumbs


 1. Heat a large pot of water and add enough salt so the water taste salty like the ocean. Add the pasta to the boiling salted water and cook until almost done, about 80% done. We want the pasta to finish cooking in the sauce to absorb the flavor. If you wish you can cool the pasta in cold water to stop the cooking if the sauce will be done later.

 2. Melt the 3 Tbsp. of the butter in a large sauce pan on medium heat and add the diced onions and papers and cook until the onions become translucent. Turn up the heat to medium high and whisk in the flour to create a roux. Add the dry mustard, nutmeg, thyme then slowly whisk in the milk and or half and half until the mixture has a soupy consistency. Gradually add the grated cheeses slowly so they melt evenly and slowly. Season with salt and pepper.

 3.  Spray a oven safe dish with cooking spray or butter and add the pasta then the cheese sauce. Top with the diced cooked lobster. The mixture should be soupy so stir in cream to make the right consistency. Mix the topping ingredients minus the parmesan cheese and cover the mixture. Sprinkle the parmesan cheese over the top. Bake in a 350 oven for 30 to 40 minutes and let cool a bit before serving.

<![CDATA[Eggplant Caponata with Fried green tomatoes]]>Wed, 14 Sep 2016 04:00:00 GMThttp://chef-think.com/home/eggplant-caponata-with-green-tomatoesPicture
Summer is eggplant time and when I started looking at eggplant recipes I was intrigued with the Sicilian dish Caponata. Caponata can be a stew, a bruschetta topping or even a relish. I'm pairing my version with a Southern staple, fried green tomatoes to add both texture and some acidity. Along with the eggplant I wanted to use Cipollini onions, heirloom tomatoes which are in season plus I could use zucchini, mushrooms and one of my favorite ingredients - pignoli or pine nuts. To add some needed freshness and a touch of sweetness I add one of my favorite ingredient tricks, a splash of white balsamic vinegar. To add a little salty kick a few capers round our Mediterranean treat.


 1 medium male eggplant (look for a small round "navel")

 6-7 Cipollini onions peeled

 2-3 heirloom tomatoes (if available)

 1 medium red pepper

 1 medium sweet onion

 1 small zucchini (optional)

 3 mushrooms (optional)

 3 Tbsp. white raisons

 3 Tbsp. capers

 3 Tbsp. toasted pine nuts

 4 roasted garlic cloves
 splash white balsamic vinegar

 salt and pepper to taste

 1 tsp. oregano

 1/2 tsp. thyme

 olive oil for sauteing

 1. Peel the eggplant and cut into 3/4 inch slices and salt liberally on both side to draw out the moisture. Let sit on a wire rack for thirty minutes to a hour to let the moisture drain. Wipe off the moisture and salt with paper towels. Squeeze the pieces between your hands to remove any remaining moisture and wipe with more paper towels. Cut into 1/2 inch squares and reserve. Roast or saute the peeled Cipollini onions until browned and reserve.

 2. Peel and dice the tomatoes into 1/2 in pieces along with the red pepper, sweet onion, zucchini and mushrooms. Add 2 Tbsp. olive oil to a hot pan and saute eggplant for a couple of minutes then add the rest of the vegetables seasoning as you go. Add the roasted garlic cloves, thyme and oregano, then add the white raisons, capers, and toasted pine nuts. Add the  peeled Cipollini onions and a splash of white balsamic vinegar to taste and correct seasonings. Keep warm until serving maybe with fried green tomatoes.

<![CDATA[Smoked Turkey Pimento Salad]]>Tue, 09 Aug 2016 04:00:00 GMThttp://chef-think.com/home/smoked-turkey-pimento-saladPicture
Lets take a American classic chicken salad and give it a southern twist using BBQ turkey legs and our feature ingredient Pimento cheese. Whether we use it for a wrap or a sandwich topping or on top of salad greens we can enjoy the smoky taste of the turkey mixed with the creamy mixture of mayo and pimento cheese accented with crunchy pieces of fresh veggies. For breakfast fry up some bacon pieces with diced onion; then add a couple of eggs and scramble and fold in some of our smoked turkey pimento salad mixture to start your day.


 1 smoked turkey leg

 3/4 cup pimento cheese

 1/4 cup mayonnaise

 3 celery ribs diced

 1 carrot diced

 1/2 small onion sweet onion

 1/2 tsp. onion powder

 1/2 tsp. old  bay seasoning

 extra pimentos (optional)


 1. Wrap the smoked turkey leg in foil and bake in a 300 degree until tender (about 3-4 hours). Dice the smoked turkey and reserve.

 2. Dice the celery, carrot and onion and mix in the pimento cheese and mayonnaise. Add the spices the fold in the turkey and extra pimentos.

 3. Serve over greens or as you would regular chicken or tuna salad.

<![CDATA[Pimento Cheese stuffed peppers]]>Mon, 01 Aug 2016 04:00:00 GMThttp://chef-think.com/home/pimento-cheese-stuffed-peppersPicture
I am continuing my series on Southern classic sides featuring pimento cheese spread, a spread ingrained in Southern American culture. Traditionally stuffed peppers are made with green peppers stuffed with rice, ground beef, onion and tomato sauce topped with melted cheese. We could change the ground beef to pork, chicken, shrimp or lamb or leave the meat out completely to make a vegetarian version. We could use broccoli, cauliflower, beets, carrots, okra, corn or almost any other vegetable. Instead of rice we could use bread or bread crumbs, a pasta like orzo or potato. For my version I not going to stray too far away and use rice, ground meat, corn and of course pimento cheese but make your own version using something your family likes. Maybe you can start your own new family tradition.


 2 large firm red peppers

 1/2 cup cooked rice

 1/2 cup cooked ground beef

 1/2 small diced onion

 1/2 cup pimento cheese (home made or store bought)

 1/2 cup creamed corn

 1/2 tsp. fresh thyme leaves

 pinch onion powder

 pinch dried mustard powder

 salt and pepper to taste

 6 Tbsp. crushed Ritz crackers (or toasted bread crumbs)

 6 Tbsp. grated Parmesan cheese


 1. Cut the red peppers lengthwise in half and clean out seeds and ribs to make a nice cavity.

 2. Saute the rice, ground beef and onion until the onions start to soften. Mix in the creamed corn, the pimento cheese, rice and then the remaining ingredients minus the parmesan cheese and toasted bread crumbs. Stuff this mixture into the hollowed out peppers. Mix the cheese and cracker (or bread) crumbs and sprinkle over the tops of the peppers. Bake at 375 degrees until the tops are browned and the peppers are starting to soften. Keep warm and serve. Serves 4.

<![CDATA[Pimento Cheese Creamed Corn]]>Wed, 27 Jul 2016 19:47:54 GMThttp://chef-think.com/home/pimento-cheese-creamed-cornPicture
Summer to many people invokes  pictures of backyard BBQs with ears of fresh roasted corn and melted butter running down your chin. As good as that sounds sometimes I prefer creamed corn especially when you bump up the flavor with Pimento Cheese. Make your own and it will be that much sweeter.


 4 Cobs sweet corn

 1 cup Pimento Cheese

 1 small diced onion

 1 tbsp. butter

 salt and pepper

 1/2 tsp. onion powder

 1/2 tsp. mustard powder

 1/2 tsp. thyme


 1. Cut the kernel off the cobs. Process half of the kernels to creamed corn consistency. Saute the whole kernels and the diced onion in the butter over medium heat. Season with salt and pepper and add the rest of the spices. Add the rest of the corn and continue to cook for 5 minutes.

 2. Remove the mixture to a bowl and add the pimento cheese and mix in. Taste and correct the seasoning. Keep warn and serve.

<![CDATA[Potato Crust Quiche]]>Mon, 18 Jul 2016 04:00:00 GMThttp://chef-think.com/home/potato-crust-quichePicture
My daughter is gluten intolerant so I wanted to make a quiche with a shredded potato crust. To make the crust brown properly I added butter and parmesan cheese which also added taste. I filled  the crust with gruyer cheese and bacon making a quiche Lorraine. Take care to watch the thickness of the crust so it is not too thick. This will make it easier to make a crisp bottom.

Potato Crust


 3 cups shredded potato hash browns

 1/2 stick melted butter

 1 cup shredded parmesan cheese


 1. Spray a pie plate with cooking spray.  In a mixing bowl add all the ingredients and mix together. Press half of the mixture evenly into the pie plate and press firmly with a measuring cup. Cover with a sheet of parchment paper, add pie weights (or dry beans) and bake in a 400 degree oven until browned. Repeat with a second pie plate, for a second quiche or to freeze for later.

Quiche Lorraine


 3 large eggs

 5 thick slices of bacon

 1 cup grated Swiss cheese
 1 cup whole milk or half and half

 1/2 tsp. Herbes de Provence

 salt and pepper


 1. Dice the bacon and fry in a skillet until crispy. Remove, drain and reserve.

 2. In a 2 cup measuring cup, break the eggs, season with salt and pepper. Add the milk or half and half to 1/2 cup for each egg (1 1/2 cups total). Beat the eggs and add the Herbes de Provence. Pour into the prepared pie shell and stir in the bacon and grated Swiss cheese. Bake in a 275 degree oven for 1 hour until just set. Let cool and serve while still warm.

<![CDATA[Mac'n Cheese salad]]>Fri, 08 Jul 2016 20:41:32 GMThttp://chef-think.com/home/macn-cheese-saladPicture
Here in the south it's hot in the summer and sometimes I want a side dish that is both satisfying and cooling. Although I love Mac and Cheese I don't always want to turn on the oven and heat up the house so why not make a macaroni salad that has nice crisp vegetables and a southern twist, pimento cheese. So I came up with this idea for a Mac N Cheese salad, a dish even kids will like. I had bought some Velveta cheese for a hot Mac N Cheese I was planning to make so I added some diced pieces which put it over the top. Of course you can make your own version using whatever cheese you like and you can add diced ham, bacon, chicken, shrimp or even lobster if you have deep pockets. Its up to you.


 1 lb. pasta (I like to use Cavatappi)

 2 carrot peeled and diced

 2 stalks celery diced

 1/2 large red pepper diced

 1/2 small Vidalia onion diced

 6 - 8 sweet gherkins diced

 2 tsp. ground mustard

 1 Tbsp. Thyme

 2 tsp. garlic powder

 1 cup mayonnaise (I used Blue Plate)

 1 cup pimento cheese

 1/2 cup Parmesan Cheese

 1/2 - 3/4 lb. diced Velveta

Optional: any diced meat, shrimp or lobster

 salt and pepper to taste


 1. Heat a large pot of water and add enough salt so the water taste salty like the ocean. Add the pasta to the boiling salted water and cook until 95% done. We want the pasta to absorb the mayo. If you want you can cool the pasta in cold water to stop the cooking if the sauce will be done later.

 2. Mix the pimento cheese and the mayonnaise together until creamy. Add more mayonnaise if necessary and then mix in the ground mustard, thyme and garlic powder. Fold in the cold pasta.

 3. Dice the vegetables, optional meat and cheeses then fold into the pasta mixture. Season with salt and pepper then store in the refrigerator to let the flavors mingle.

<![CDATA[Mini Tourtière Meat Pies]]>Mon, 27 Jun 2016 20:06:30 GMThttp://chef-think.com/home/mini-tourtiere-meat-piesPicture
Recently my wife  asked me to make some food for a bridal shower and I decided  to made some quiches and a tourtière, a French Canadian meat pie. Last week I picked up the cookbook "Southern Heirloom Cooking" by Norma Jean McQueen Haydel and Horace McQueen and found a recipe for fried meat pies. Since I had some leftover tourtière meat I decided to create my own meat pies but instead of frying them I decided to bake them. For the crust I used store bought empanada wrappers but I could make my own pie crusts. For a nice shiny crust don't forget the egg wash and make different fillings. I think I will try one with corned beef hash next.


 Tourtière filling

 5 to 6 inch round empanada wrappers (or mini pie crusts)

 1 beaten egg


 Prepare the Tourtière filling and cool. Using empanada wrappers (or your own pie crust) add a scoop of the  Tourtière filling. Beat an egg and using a pastry brush, moisten around the edges to make a good seal. Using a fork seal the edges then brush the tops with the egg wash. Bake in a 375 degree oven until nicely browned. Serve warm.

<![CDATA[Mini Scotch Eggs]]>Fri, 17 Jun 2016 02:11:38 GMThttp://chef-think.com/home/mini-scotch-eggsPicture
If you love English style pubs you are familiar with Scotch Eggs, Boiled eggs encased in sausage and then breaded and deep fried. Using quail eggs I make a smaller version that can be eaten whole and enjoyed both for breakfast or an appetizer or snack any time. Make some for your next football party. The eggs are soft boiled to stop that ugly green ring around the yolk in eggs that are over cooked. After encasing the eggs in in a thin layer of sausage, we bread it and fry to crispy perfection. I want the yolk to be slightly soft the consistency of Jello. Many times Scotch Eggs are served with a dipping sauce. I have added two sauce suggestions, based on the English love of curry but you can play it safe and make some honey mustard. Try one, all or create your own.


 Quail eggs

 Sausage meat

 panko bread crumbs for breading

 1 or 2 eggs with milk


 curry powder

 Thai red curry paste

 sour cream

 plain Greek yogurt

 favorite hot sauce (optional)

 salt and pepper to taste


 In a heat proof bowl add the quail eggs and gently add boiling water to cover. Let steep for two minutes for eggs with soft yolks or an extra minute if you want them more cooked. Transfer to cold water to stop the cooking and gently peel the shells once cooled.

 Prepare the sausage meat by making your own or removing the casings of your favorite links or you can buy bulk sausage meat to make things easier. Prepare a standard breading station, first flour, then beaten eggs and seasoned breadcrumbs (I prefer Italian seasoned Japanese Panko). First encase the peeled eggs in a thin layer of sausage, roll in the flour shaking off any extra. Dip in the beaten egg mixture the roll in the bread crumbs. Heat the oil to 325 F and deep fry until golden and crispy. Keep warm and serve with a dipping sauce.

 Indian Style Curry Sauce

 Add 2 Tbsp. good quality curry powder to a skillet with 1 Tbsp. butter and toast spices. Let cool and add to 1/2 cup Greek yogurt mixing well. Season with salt and pepper and a slash of your favorite hot sauce if you like. Let flavors mingle before using

 Thai Style Curry Sauce

 Add 2 Tbsp. good quality red curry paste to a skillet with 1 Tbsp. butter and gently warm. Let cool and add to 1/2 cup sour cream mixing well. Season with salt and pepper and a slash of your favorite hot sauce if you like. Let flavors mingle before using

<![CDATA[Smoked Paprika Eggs with grits]]>Sun, 05 Jun 2016 20:13:43 GMThttp://chef-think.com/home/smoked-paprika-eggs-with-gritsPicture
Many of us agree that we should all eat more vegetables in our diet but are lax in following through. This recipe is an attempt to add kale to breakfast and make a more colorful, healthy and balanced meal.
I love checking out other peoples culinary ideas and I was intrigued by Christopher Hirsheimer and Melissa Hamilton's Canal House recipe for Pimenton fried eggs. Pimenton or smoked paprika is added to oil before frying an egg creating a colorful smoky egg that is cooked until it is crispy  around the edges in addition to intensifying the smoky taste. I wanted to use this preparation to create a unique healthy  dish my wife would enjoy. I added some leftover savory grits to sauted kale and then added some tangy goat cheese bits  to bring everything together.


 4 large fresh eggs

 1 tsp. smoked paprika (Pimenton)

 1 cup leftover savory cheese grits (recipe follows)

 3 Tbsp. olive oil or butter or mixture of both

 1 cup kale

 2 oz. goat cheese

 salt and pepper to taste


 Melt 1/3 of the butter and/or olive oil in a medium non-stick skillet and saute the grits breaking into small pieces until lightly browned and crispy. Keep warm. In another skillet saute the kale in another 1/3 of the butter and/or olive oil until crispy. Add to the grits and keep warm.

 Clean out the non-stick skillet and heat to medium. Melt the remaining butter and/or olive oil and add the paprika and toast for a minute then fry the eggs how you like. Plate 2 eggs and serve with the kale and grit mixture. Add half of the goat cheese breaking the cheese into small pieces over the kale mixture. Prepare the second plate and serve.

Savory Grits:

 2 cups good quality stone ground grits

 1/2 sweet finely diced onion

 2 Tbsp. olive oil

 1 cup shredded sharp cheddar

 1/2 cup grated Pecorino Romano or similar cheese

 4 cups good quality chicken broth

 2 oz. butter

 2 Tbsp. herbs of your choice (I like thyme, parsley and oregano)

 salt and pepper to taste

 In a medium skillet heat the oil and saute the diced onion until translucent, then add the grits and toast until you can see some color. Wisk in the chicken broth, add the herbs and cook until the grits are tender. Stir in the cheeses until melted adding water if the mixture gets too stiff. Stir in the butter and check the seasoning. You can add some fresh herbs if you like. Let the mixture cool overnight. 

<![CDATA[Gord's Corned Beef Hash]]>Tue, 24 May 2016 19:46:04 GMThttp://chef-think.com/home/gords-corned-beef-hashPicture
I prefer the American Diner classic Corned Beef Hash while the version in a can is simply a waste of money. The canned version is too salty with a overly mushy texture. With a little work any one can make this great tasting dish. First we need some great corned beef which we have three choices - make your own, cook a packaged corn beef or buy your favorite sandwich version and have the store slice it thick. If you have the time by all means do your own but if time is of the essence go to the deli counter and get a thick slice. The happy medium is buy a whole corned beef and braise it to make it falling apart tender, We could then do a quick deep fry similar to great carnitas to crisp up the meat. While we have the hot oil we could also deep fry the potatoes to make them crispy. Then we have crunchy bits surrounded by a soft hash, the best of both worlds. What ever you do make it your own.


 1 1/2 pounds corned beef
 1 1/2 medium onions
 2 russet potatoes
 1/2 sweet red pepper (optional)
 1/2 tsp. dried thyme
 1/4 tsp. garlic powder
 1/4 tsp. onion powder
 fresh parsley for garnish
 4 oz. butter
 3-6 Tbsp. oil
 salt and pepper to taste


 Prepare the corned beef and dice into 1/2 inch cubes. Dice the onion and pepper to the same size, Peel the potato and dice into 1/2 inch cubes and soak in cold water. Take 1/3 each of the corned beef, onion and potatoes and finely chop in a food processor until it is ground. 

 If you are using a braised corned beef that is very tender you may want to fry it first to crisp it. In a medium skillet melt one half of the butter and add the remaining corned beef, onions and peppers. Season with salt (remember the corned beef will be salty so go easy on the salt) and saute until the onions start to soften then add the garlic and onion powder and the thyme. Continue to cook to combine and reserve.  You can drain and dry the potatoes then you can either deep fry or pan fry in the skillet until browned then reserve.

  With the remaining oil and butter cook the ground mixture in a skillet until the potatoes are cooked then add the rest of the corned beef mixture and combine. Mix in the potatoes and press down and brown on both sides. I like to shape the hash in a egg mold and serve topped with a poached egg and fresh parsley. 

<![CDATA[Chicken Pot Pie Muffin]]>Wed, 18 May 2016 19:28:39 GMThttp://chef-think.com/home/chicken-pot-pie-muffinPicture
One of my passions is to develop savory muffins; first was my version of a Stuffin Muffin based on traditional Thanksgiving stuffing. I have long wanted to come up with a recipe based on the classic Chicken Pot Pie, the perennial American comfort food. I have adjusted the recipe to make a moist savory muffin with just a touch of sweetness. If you desire you can sprinkle some grated parmesan cheese to make a crunchy top.


 3 tbsp. butter

 1 1/2 large sweet onions

 4 or 5 stalks celery including leaves

 3 carrots

 6 oz. shelled peas

 3 or 4 large precooked chicken breasts

 1 tsp. poultry seasoning

 1 tsp. thyme leaves

 Salt and pepper for seasoning

 4 cups all-purpose flour

 1 ½ tsp. baking powder

 1/2 tsp. salt

 3-5 tbsp. sugar

 2 Large Eggs

 8 fluid oz. good chicken broth

 ½ cup milk

 chicken gravy for serving (optional)


Preheat the oven to 400° F.
Dice the onion, celery, carrots and the chicken breasts. Heat a skillet on medium heat and add butter. Sauté the onion, celery and carrot in the butter seasoning with salt until the onion is translucent. Add the poultry seasoning, thyme and pepper and sauté for  two minutes more. Taste and correct the seasoning, take off the heat and allow to cool until warm. Blanch the peas in boiling water until bright green, the shock in ice water to cool. Combine the chicken and veggies.
Sift the flour, baking powder and salt in to a large bowl. Beat the eggs, sugar and the milk in another bowl and gently mix into the dry ingredients. Mix in the chicken stock making sure not to over-work the mixture. Mix in the chicken, onion, carrot, celery and pea mixture.
Grease some muffin tins and fill with the mixture to the top. Bake in a 400° F oven until done (about 20 minutes) or until the tops are brown and a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Serve hot with optional chicken gravy or butter.  Makes 10 large or 24 small muffins.

<![CDATA[Chorizo Hash Browns]]>Sat, 30 Apr 2016 16:40:43 GMThttp://chef-think.com/home/chorizo-hash-brownsPicture
Now that we have our breakfast chili renello let us make a Mexican inspired side dish, I like the taste of chorizo so how about some chorizo hash browns? To mirror our chili renello I would like to add poblano chilies, some sweet onion and red pepper which is one of my favorite combinations I keep on coming back to, but you can vary to your own taste. Charring the peppers, chilies and onion will add a smoky addition but it's optional if you want to save time. Rendering the fat out of the chorizo will give you a flavorful oil in which to saute the vegetables and crisp up the meat. Remember to crumble some of the queso fresco over the top and you will have a side worthy of Cinco de Mayo.


 1/2 pound good quality chorizo
 1 medium onion diced
 1/2 red pepper diced
 1/2 poblano pepper diced
 hash browns
 queso fresco for garnish (optional)
 cilantro for garnish
 salt and pepper to taste
 3 Tbsp. oil


 In a medium skillet crumble the chorizo and cook until the fat renders and the meat is crispy. Remove the chorizo bits and saute the veggies until softened. Add the chorizo back and keep warm.

  Prepare the hash browns and serve with the chorizo mixture. Garnish with cilantro and queso fresco (optional).

<![CDATA[Breakfast Chili Rellenos]]>Wed, 27 Apr 2016 18:54:27 GMThttp://chef-think.com/home/breakfast-chili-rellenosPicture
When I go to a Mexican restaurant one of my favorite dishes are chili rellenos, a roasted chili stuffed with cheese then dipped in an egg batter and deep fried. It is then served with a red tomato chili sauce. For my breakfast version I want to make the dish lighter so I will skip the batter and bake the dish instead to melt the cheese, add eggs and prosciutto and serve them with a spicy tomato sauce.


 3 large poblano peppers
 4 eggs
 1/2 pound pancetta and/or 3 sheets of proscuito
 1/2 pound queso fresco
 1/2 pound melting cheese like Montery Jack
 1 cup tomato sauce
 1/2 tsp thyme
 1/2 tsp oregano
 1/2 tsp chili powder
 salt and pepper


  Roast the chilies over a gas burner or with a torch until the skin is charred. Cover in a bag for 5 minutes then remove the skin. Next you want to make a "T" shaped cut with the top of the "T" at the stem end. The cut should sever the seeds from the stem but do not cut through the opposite side, clean out the seeds and the ribs to make the pepper ready to stuff.

 If you are using pancetta, dice it and crisp it in a skillet. Make soft scrambled eggs and add some grated cheese and the diced pancetta.

 If you are using proscuito open a chili and insert the proscuito into the cavity then fill with the scrambled egg then add some shredded cheese. Stuff the remaining chilies then heat in a 300 degree oven until the cheese is melted and the chilies are cooked to your desired doneness. I like to keep some crispness to mine but some like them completely soft.

 Heat some tomato sauce adding some oregano, thyme, chili powder, salt and pepper to taste. To serve, ladle some tomato sauce on a plate and lay the pepper on top. Crumble the queso fresco over the top and serve.

<![CDATA[Sausage in Puff Pastry]]>Sat, 09 Apr 2016 16:49:00 GMThttp://chef-think.com/home/sausage-in-puff-pastryPicture
 I grew up in an Ukrainian family and my sausage of choice is Kubassa a smoked ham sausage flavored with garlic and spices.  For breakfast my grandmother always served fried sausage with our eggs so I wanted to make a dish with Ukrainian style sausage. In Edmonton there were two of my favorite versions, Stawnichy's  and Marchyshyn's but  living in Georgia I am unable to get either so I'm using the best smoked sausage I can find. I thought why not make a version of pigs in a blanket? To make this very simple why not use a puff pastry sheet as the wrapping? For a topping let us sprinkle on some Montreal steak seasoning to add some garlic, salt and pepper notes.


 1 ring of your favorite smoked sausage

 4 slices of your favorite cheese

 1 egg beaten

 1 sheet puff pastry

 sprinkling of Montreal steak seasoning


 Cut the sausage into 3 inch pieces and roast in a 300 degree oven until browned. Let cool.

  Cut the puff pastry sheet into quarters and layer each with a slice of cheese and a piece of sausage. Roll each square into a cylinder and seal. Fold in the sides and seal.

 Brush with a egg wash reserving some for later. Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven until browned. Brush with the reserved egg wash and sprinkle on some steak seasoning. Return to the oven to fix the seasoning and let cool a bit. Serve warm.

<![CDATA[Sausage Meat Pie Quiche]]>Fri, 11 Mar 2016 21:40:33 GMThttp://chef-think.com/home/sausage-meat-pie-quichePicture
Sausage and eggs are an American favorite, so why not a meat-pie quiche hybrid? I posted a French Canadian version in A French Canadian Christmas Eve Quiche but I wanted to do an American version. As before I added mashed potatoes to the meat mixture and a thin layer of melted cheese to stop the quiche layer from seeping into the meat-pie layer. I look forward to exploring this idea further in other variations. How would you use this technique to create your own hybrid?


 2 Deep Dish pie shells
 12 Eggs
 1 1/2 cups whole milk
 1 onion diced
 1 potato cooked and mashed
 6 strips thick cut bacon
 1 1/2 pounds sausage meat
 2 cups finely shredded cheese


 Cook the bacon and crumble. Dice the onion and saute until softened. Peel, cook and mash potato.

 Cook sausage breaking up into small pieces, adding half of the onion half way through, then adding the mashed potatoes when done, Divide the mixture and smooth into 2 pie shells. Finely grate cheese and spread half of the cheese over the 2 meat pies. Melt in oven and let cool.

 Break the eggs into a bowl and add the milk. Beat until mixed and add bacon and the rest of the onions. Add some of the cheese reserving some for the top. Fill the pie shells and bake in a 350 degree oven. After ten minutes sprinkle the rest of the cheese over the top and cook until the egg is set (about 20-30 minutes). Let cool a bit before serving.

<![CDATA[Ham Steak and Cappuccino Gravy]]>Mon, 08 Feb 2016 17:04:41 GMThttp://chef-think.com/home/ham-steak-and-cappuccino-gravyPicture
The perennial coffee is a morning mainstay; and in the south red eyed gravy was discovered when an adventurist cook deglazed the ham pan drippings with their morning coffee. I love the play of bitter, salty and sweet so I decided to take red-eyed gravy one step further and make a cappuccino gravy, I have some leftover Benton country ham pieces so why not dice it and use it to provide the salty. Deglaze the ham drippings with coffee (or expresso) for the bitter. Add milk or cream and season with salt, pepper and sugar for the sweet. The perfect gravy is balanced, so taste as you go and enjoy! Serve with your favorite eggs and buttermilk biscuits.


 ham steak
 fatty country ham pieces finely diced
 1 Tbsp. flour
 butter if needed
 1 cup coffee or expresso
 milk or cream to taste
 salt and pepper to taste
 sugar to taste


 1. dice the country ham and fry with the ham steak until nicely browned.
 2. Add a little butter if the pan is dry and stir in the flour making a roux. Deglaze with the coffee releasing the fond from the  pan then add milk or cream to taste. Season with salt, pepper and sugar tasting as you go.

 3. Serve the ham steak with the gravy poured over top. Serve with eggs and biscuits.

<![CDATA[Welsh Rarebit Mac and Cheese with Pork Belly]]>Thu, 28 Jan 2016 17:19:43 GMThttp://chef-think.com/home/welsh-rarebit-mac-and-cheese-with-pork-bellyPicture
What can be better then Mac and Cheese except maybe Mac and Cheese made with beer and bacon? The Brits have a dish called Welsh Rarebit which is a beer and cheese sauce usually served over toast and broiled until the sauce is nicely browned and bubbling. In my research I have found other trailblazers that have had this same idea but in the spirit of making it my own, I am adding my own home cured bacon to put it over the top. I love to add a topping made with panko, crushed Ritz cracker, cheddar and Parmesan cheeses. I have made uncured bacon for this recipe (made without curing salt) to speed up the process but you can substitute any dry cured bacon even unsmoked if you want.


 Home Uncured Bacon

 3 pounds pork belly
 3 Tbsps. kosher salt
 2 Tbsp. brown sugar
 2 tsp. pepper
 2 tsp. ground coriander
 1 Tbsp. maple syrup
 1 Tbsp. ground thyme

 Welsh Rarebit Mac and Cheese

 1 cup Newcastle brown ale (or another brown ale)
 2 cups milk
 4 Tbsp. butter
 3 Tbsp. flour
 1 cup finely diced red pepper
 1 cup finely diced onion
 1 deseeded finely diced jalapeno
 2 Tbsp. dry mustard
 2 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
 salt and pepper to taste
 1 cup sharp cheddar cheese
 1 cup coastal cheddar cheese
 1/2 cup parmesan cheese
 1 cup diced Velveeta cheese
 1 pound of pasta

 1/2 cup sharp cheddar cheese
 1 cup crushed Ritz crackers
 1/2 cup parmesan cheese
 1/4 cup panko bread crumbs


 1. Rub the pork belly with all the ingredient and seal in a Ziplock bag and refrigerate overnight. Smoke the pork belly on low heat for at least 4 hours. Heat in a 275 degree oven for one hour until browned.

 2. Melt the 3 Tbsp. of the butter in a large sauce pan and whisk in the flour to create a roux. Add the dry mustard then the Worcestershire sauce, beer and milk to a soupy consistency. Gradually add the cheeses slowly so they melt slowly and season with salt and pepper.

 3. Add the pasta to boiling salted water and cook until almost done.

 4. On medium heat, in a separate pan melt the remaining butter and add the peppers and onions stirring until the onions are translucent. Add to the cheese sauce. Spray with cooking spray or butter a oven safe dish and add the pasta then the cheese sauce. The mixture should be soupy so stir in more milk if needed. Mix the topping ingredients and cover the mixture. Bake in a 350 oven for 30 to 40 minutes and let cool a bit before serving.

<![CDATA[Southern Breakfast Poutine]]>Fri, 08 Jan 2016 21:03:26 GMThttp://chef-think.com/home/southern-breakfast-poutinePicture
Poutine is a French Canadian dish that features French fries topped with cheese curds and covered with a dark gravy. Recovering from my back surgery, I have been eating out more lately and that means more leftovers. What can you do with leftover French fries? Why not cut them up and use them for hash browns? Why stop there, lets make a southern version of poutine. First let us make a great sausage gravy to add to our cheese curds topping our "French fry" hash browns.


 2 pounds good quality pork sausage
 1 large sweet onion finely diced
 1 cup all purpose flour
 1 tsp. dried thyme or 4 sprigs fresh thyme
 1 pinch red pepper flakes
 Hot sauce to taste
 2 cups whole milk
 Salt and pepper to taste
 fresh cheese curds
 leftover French fries
 Salt and pepper to taste


 Heat a large skillet or Dutch oven over medium heat. When the pan is hot, skin and break up the sausage into small pieces, season with salt and cook until brown and most of the fat has rendered out into the pan. Add the onions and cook until they become translucent. Add the thyme and red pepper flakes and continue to cook until the onions just start to brown. Whisk in the flour and stir until fully mixed. This is in fact a roux. I need to continue to stir until the raw flour taste is gone which should take a minute. Continue to whisk and slowly add the milk. I now will increase the heat to medium high, stirring frequently, then when the mixture begins to boil, reduce the heat to low and simmer until the mixture thickens. Now is the time to season with salt and pepper to taste, and to add the hot sauce to achieve the heat you want. Keep warm until needed.

 Dice the leftover fries into small squares and add to a preheated cast iron skillet on medium heat. Fry until crisp and plate. Sprinkle with cheese curds and cover with warm gravy. Serve immediately and enjoy with your favorite eggs.

<![CDATA[Mike's Southern Banana Pudding]]>Fri, 25 Dec 2015 16:10:15 GMThttp://chef-think.com/home/mikes-southern-banana-puddingPicture
Here I am, convalescing from back surgery, fast approaching Christmas and figuring what to make for a family gathering that will be both easy to make and special at the same time. In talking with family members I discovered one of my brother in law's favorite dishes is Southern Banana Pudding. That is my task, to reinvent a classic and put a special spin on it. Why not a pie? I will make a crumb crust made from "Nilla Waffers" and melted butter. Instead of sliced bananas I thought back to a raw food presentation I attended where the presenter pureed ripe frozen bananas into a "banana ice cream", a cold base layer for our pie. Next we need the prerequisite vanilla pudding layer with a little toasted coconut for a twist. Let us finish with a nice browned meringue for the perfect ending. Your assignment: Pick a favorite dish from a friend or family and make it something special. Marrey Chistmas!

 6 ripe bananas frozen

 1 package "Nilla Wafers"

 1 stick melted butter

 1 cup whole milk

 1 cup cream

 1 vanilla bean

 3 Tbsp. Corn Starch

 1/3 cup sugar

 1Tbsp. vanilla extract

 1/2 cup toasted sweet coconut

 3 egg whites

 3 Tbsp. sugar


 1. Puree most of the Nilla wafers retaining some for decoration adding 1 stick melted butter to create a crust. Spread mixture in a greased pie pan smoothing into a shell.

 2. In a medium saucepan add 1/3 cup sugar with the cornstarch and 1/3 of a cup of the milk and whisk into a paste. Add the remaining milk and cream and heat on medium heat until the mixture thickens. Cut the heat and add the vanilla extract. Split the vanilla bean, scrape out the seeds and add to the pudding. Cool and cover with plastic wrap to prevent a skin from forming.

 3. Skin the frozen bananas and puree or put through a juicer to create a banana "ice cream". Spread the banana mixture and sprinkle half of the toasted coconut. Spread the cooled pudding mixture evenly and sprinkle with the rest of the coconut.

 4. Whip the egg whites with 3 Tbsp. sugar until stiff peaks form. Arrange the rest of the wafers around the top of the pie and top with the meringue. Brown top with torch or under broiler. Serve immediately.

<![CDATA[Cheese Grits Soufflé Pie]]>Mon, 14 Dec 2015 22:14:55 GMThttp://chef-think.com/home/cheese-grits-souffl-piePicture
I was reading "Sarabeth's Good Morning Cookbook" by Sarabeth Levine and came across her recipe for Hot Cereal Soufflés which started me thinking; why not a southern version made with cheese grits? But why stop there? Here in the south we love pies so why not a soufflé pie? In her version she makes a sweet soufflé with jam on the bottom but I like savory so I added some pancetta for flavor. Maybe I can make a version with a savory Shrimp Etouffé at the bottom for a surprise. My point is that inspiration can springboard from other chef's recipes so read through your old cookbook library leaving your mind open to new possibilities or in this case a new addition to your library.


 1 cup stone ground premium white grits

 2 cups milk

 2 cups water

 1 cup grated sharp white cheddar cheese

 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese

 1 cup diced Veleeta cheese

 2 Tbsp. unsalted butter


 4 ounces diced pancetta

 3 eggs separated

 pinch of cream of tarter

 1 deep dish pie shell

 extra parmesan and finely grated sharp cheddar to sprinkle on top and bottom of pie shell


1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Add the butter to a large sauce pan and the grits and toast on medium heat for 10 minutes.

2. Add the milk and water to the sauce pan and bring to a boil while stirring with a whisk. Continue cooking until grits soften (about 30 minutes) adding more water if needed.

3. Sauté pancetta in separate skillet until crisp and drain on paper towels while grits soften. 

4. Grate and dice the cheeses and add to grits while stirring. You can optionally add extra butter to make creamier grits. Season with salt and pepper to taste and add water to achieve proper consistency and take off heat. Stir in the pancetta into the grits.

5, Sprinkle some cheese into the bottom of the pie crust and bake in oven until the cheese melts. This will help the pie crust stay crisp.

6. Separate the eggs. Beat the yolks with a tablespoon of milk and whisk into the grits. In a clean bowl whip the egg whites with a pinch of cream of tarter until glossy and stiff peaks form. Using a spatula fold one quarter of the egg whites into the grits mixture. Fold the grits mixture gently into the remaining egg whites until mixed. Fill the pie shell with the mixture and sprinkle with cheese. Cook until the pie crust is golden and the filling has risen and browned (20 to 30 minutes). Serve immediately and enjoy.