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.
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.
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.
Almost everyone loves a good steak and great comfort foods. One of my favorite comfort foods is pot roast, an American classic; slow braised beef in a flavorful liquid. Why not merge the two using a cheaper cut of steak that will be tenderized by cooking low and slow. Add some vegetables; carrots, celery, onions, mushrooms, potatoes and we have a dish almost anyone will love. And remember our braised soups post we could take any leftover braising liquid and make soup. I like to use half of the of the carrots, celery, onions and all of the mushrooms for the first part of the braise and add the rest to cook at the end so we have some veggies with texture. Let us maximize savory with tomato paste, Worchester sauce, oyster sauce and my secret weapon parmesan rind. Lets us practice proper culinary techniques, browning the beef in bacon fat, using a mirepoix and tomato paste then deglazing with red wine and beef broth.
2 - 4 medium sized chuck eye steaks
2 large onions diced
4 stalks celery diced
4 medium carrots diced
1 ounce dried porcini mushrooms
1 - 2 ounces fresh mushrooms
1/2 pounds baby potatoes
2 Tbsp. tomato paste
1 Tbsp. dried thyme
1 tsp. dried Italian herbs
1 bay leaf
1 cup red wine
2-3 cups beef stock
parmesan rind (optional)
salt and pepper to taste
splash of sherry vinegar
1. Chop a small amount of bacon into strips (lardons). In a preheated large heavy bottomed skillet add a little olive oil and the lardons and saute to render the fat. Season the steak and sear in the hot oil on both sides. Remove the steaks, finely chop half of the mirepoix and saute. Add some tomato paste and brown. Deglaze with some red wine then add the stock. Add the mushrooms, spices, sauces, parmesan rind and herbs and cook on low heat until the steaks are tender.
2. When the steak is almost tender add the remaining mirepoix and the potatoes. Cook until the potatoes are cooked and serve.
Well, I am finally in my new kitchen, in a new state ready to try some new things! Since moving to Georgia I have been researching the local food scene, looking at new ingredients and how I can use them. The first thing I want to tackle is southern style grits which are served for breakfast almost every where. I love to add cheese to my version because regular grits with butter is just too plain for me. I like to add three different cheeses; cheddar, fontina and parmesan, but you can try your own combination of cheeses or just one. Its all up to you! I like to serve mine with diced country ham and some bacon. I'll think I will make some extra to make my version of shrimp and grits. More on that later. First you may ask, what is the difference between grits and polenta? The major difference is that grits are traditionally made from a type of corn called dent corn, while polenta is made from flint corn. Polenta is usually a little coarser and can have a firmer texture while grits generally are creamier. I have tried two premium stone ground offerings. The first I got from The Healthy Gourmet in Athens, GA ( check them out on facebook ) from the Logan Turnpike Mill ( http://www.loganturnpikemill.com/ ) and the second are called Gayla's Grits from Shaw Farms ( http://gaylasgrits.com/ ) which I picked up at Lizzies Pantry ( http://www.lizziespantry.com/ ).
2 cups stone ground premium white grits
1 1/2 cup chicken broth
1 1/2 cup milk
water to achieve proper consistency
1 cup grated sharp white cheddar cheese
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
1 cup grated fontina cheese
2 Tbsp. unsalted butter
2 pieces of thick sliced bacon cooked crisp and broken into pieces
1/4 pound country ham fried and simmered in water to reduce saltiness
1. Add the butter to a large sauce pan and the grits and toast on medium heat for 10 minutes
2. Add the chicken broth and milk to the sauce pan and bring to a boil while stirring with a wisk
3. Continue cooking until grits soften (about 15 minutes)
4. Grate the cheeses and add while stirring.
5, Season with salt to taste and add water to achieve proper consistency.
6. Serve in a bowl with the diced bacon and ham
I grew up on Sunday roast beef and Yorkshire puddings while my wife grew up eating the southern American version of toad in a hole, a pan fried piece of buttered bread with round hole in the center in which a egg is fried. She also likes pancakes called Dutch babies which are similar to a Yorkshire pudding pancake. I like both versions and plan to make both and call it toad in the hole, 2 ways. Today I am going to show you the British version first. This is a simple dish and I am going to make a large single serving using a small cast iron skillet but you can make a full version in a full sized cast iron skillet (Just double the recipe amounts). Let this be a starting point and make it your own by changing things around. I can see using corn meal, using different meats, (I tried it with smoked turkey and quail eggs) eggs. Traditionally this is served with a gravy, but today I served it with maple syrup (my wife's idea).
6 links of breakfast sausage
1/2 cup self rising flour
2 tbsp. melted butter plus extra for the skillet
1/2 to 1 cup buttermilk
salt, pepper and sugar to taste
Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
Beat the eggs and 1/2 cup of the buttermilk together with salt, pepper and the sugar. Add the flour to a bowl, make a well in the center and stir in the egg mixture. Adjust the thickness of the batter to your liking. Thinner will be more like Yorkshire pudding, thicker more like a pancake. Choose your preference. Let rest for half a hour.
Brown the sausage in a skillet or in the oven. Save the grease.
Heat the cast iron skillet in the oven for at least 10 minutes. Remove the preheated skillet from the oven and add the grease from the sausage plus some butter to coat the bottom of the skillet. Add a thin layer of batter, then the sausages, then more batter filling the pan at least half way up the pan. Return the skillet to the oven and bake until brown on top and a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Serve with maple syrup and enjoy!
I have been very busy getting ready to move to Georgia and have neglected doing any new posts. I came up with an idea I wanted to share, eggs parmesan. I always wanted to do an egg dish baked in tomato sauce but wanted to add a couple of additions to take it to the next level. I found the perfect medium size baking dish big enough for a dinner for two and started thinking. I had tomato sauce, fresh mozzerella, fresh basil and some leftover pasta. My kids always liked a dish we simply called spaghetti lasagna, left over spaghetti and sauce baked with a parmesan mozzerella crust. Why not add eggs to the equation? Lets also add sauted onions and some diced prosciutto or pancetta for some texture and flavor. I always love comfort food and what could be easier; leftovers made into a fantastic new dish!
6 - 8 onces left-over pasta warmed
2 cups marinara sauce warmed
1/2 onion sliced
2 ounces prosciutto cut into strips or diced pancetta
1/2 pound fresh mozzerella
1/2 to 1 cup fresh grated parmesan
butter and olive oil
salt and pepper for seasoning
Heat a pan on medium heat. When hot add a little oil and or butter and the prosciutto or pancetta. Slice the onion and add to the pan and sweat until translucent (about 3 mins).
Cover the bottom of the baking dish with a little of the marinara, then add the pasta, season with salt and pepper. Add the onion mixture and top with the rest of the marinara sauce. Make an indentation and add an egg and repeat for the rest of the eggs (it helps if the marinara is thicker). Add pieces of mozzerella around the eggs and grate parmesan over the top.
Bake at 400 until whites of the eggs are firm and the cheese start to brown. Add torn fresh basil leaves to garnish and serve while hot.
Growing up in Canada fries were almost always offered with brown gravy and in Quebec they go one step further; lovely fresh squeaky cheese curds! Initially I was a sceptic, gravy and cheese together. Certainly not an everyday type of food, and wouldn't the gravy make the fries all soggy? Surprisingly, it all fits together; hot home made crispy fries, squeaky cheese curds covered with a tasty brown gravy. It truly is the perfect accompaniment for a tourtierre quiche or as pictured here, a authentic French Canadian Tourtierre. You can cut the potatoes any way you wish. I prefer a short stubby fry.
2-3 russet potatoes
Fresh cheese curds
1/2 red onion
salt and pepper for seasoning
Wash, peel and slice the potatoes to desired size and shape. Rinse under running cold water and store in cold water until needed.
Slice the onions into ribbons and add to a preheated pan on medium heat with a pat of butter. Season with salt and continue to cook until softened and sweet. Add the gravy and stir checking the seasoning. Keep hot until needed.
Drain and dry the potatoes and add to a deep pot or deep fryer of cold oil. Start heating the oil slowly to 375 degrees. This is a new method I'm trying out called the cold start method and is reputed to create French fries that are lower in calories and is practically fool-proof. Drain the potatoes on paper towels and keep warm until needed.
To assemble, put the potatoes on a warm plate and sprinkle with cheese curds. Serve immediately with individual cups or creamers of the hot gravy and let each person pour the gravy over the fries to maximize the crispy-ness of the potatoes as they will get soggy fast. Enjoy this treat from Canada.
I love to create new and innovative benedicts; using something interesting for the base followed by a complementary piece of meat or vegetable, topped with a lovely poached egg and a sauce to tie everything together. Using Thanksgiving as my inspiration, I thought to use leftover dressing for the base, pressing it into a ring mold and browning it in sauté pan. Next I think a nice piece of turkey would be perfect next level. We could use a circle cutter to make it look a bit more professional or leave the pieces as is for a more rustic presentation. Then the prerequisite poached egg done to your favorite doneness; I like mine with the white firm and a runny yolk. For the sauce, I could use turkey gravy or if cranberries are your thing, top with cranberry sauce. Maybe next year I will work on a cranberry-hollandaise sauce to bring something new to the traditional. This benedict is the perfect brunch dish for your Thanksgiving weekend and is so easy to make.
Option: To work properly your stuffing should be moist and be able to be compacted into the form. If you don't want to make this dish with leftover stuffing why not use the Stuffin Muffin recipe and use a egg ring instead of a muffin pan to create a form similar to an English muffin. You just have to trim off the top to make it flat.
2 slices of turkey
2 cups of moist turkey stuffing or dressing
2 poached eggs
turkey gravy or cranberry sauce
1. Using greased round egg molds, divide stuffing and press to fill. Heat a skillet on medium heat, add butter and the stuffing in the molds. Brown on one side, unmold and brown on second side. Reserve until needed.
2. Using a circle cutter the same size as the egg mold, cut the turkey slices into rounds or if you prefer a more rustic look use a slice. Warm and place on the stuffing rounds.
3. Poach two eggs and add on top of turkey
4. Finish with warmed gravy or cranberry sauce. (you could also add the cranberry sauce to hollandaise for a fancier offering)
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How does a good chef think? What is the creative process a
chef uses to come up with new and exciting dishes? What do I need to know to enable that creative process? These are the questions I want to explore in this series of articles. As a chef and an avid cookbook collector I am drawn towards
ideas and techniques of cooking rather than just a collection of recipes. I believe to grow as a chef, I need to continually learn and hone new techniques along with perfecting each technique I use every day. Whenever I go to a restaurant, whether fine dining, neighborhood pub, avant garde, or even fast food, I continually ask myself how can I do this better, what works and more important, what doesn’t? Feel free to send me comments, ask questions. Together, we can explore and make creative cuisine.
Spending almost thirty years in the computing field, I was able to travel experiencing a wide variety of tremendous cuisine. First I became a foodie, and when the opportunity arose, I was able to attend culinary school following my passion. I work as a part-time private chef and volunteer time at the community café in North Bend Oregon providing affordable meals in a restaurant setting to my community.