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Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Merry Christmas 2007

We have all heard it "Jesus is the reason for the season" forget all the polically correct mumbo jumbo it is ture, Without Jesus there would be no season, these holy days are about Him. All other religions have thier holidays let the christian one be, without Christ there would be no need for Christmas, and what an impact that would have.

Who is Jesus?


He is the Lord God, El. Jehovah the God who keeps covenant and fulfils promises, the God of strength, Immanuel.
Exodus 34:5-7
5 And the LORD descended in the cloud, and stood with him there, and proclaimed the name of the LORD. 6 And the LORD passed by before him, and proclaimed, The LORD, The LORD God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abundant in goodness and truth, 7 Keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, and that will by no means clear the guilty; visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children, and upon the children’s children, unto the third and to the fourth generation.

He is our advocate.
1 John 2:1
My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous:

He is Lord of all.
Hebrews 2:8
8 Thou hast put all things in subjection under his feet. For in that he put all in subjection under him, he left nothing that is not put under him. But now we see not yet all things put under him.

He is the morning star.
Revelation 22:16
16 I Jesus have sent mine angel to testify unto you these things in the churches. I am the root and the offspring of David, and the bright and morning star.

He is the chief corner stone.
Ephesians 2:20
20 And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone;

He is the chief shepherd.
1 Peter 5:4
4 And when the chief Shepherd shall appear, ye shall receive a crown of glory that fadeth not away.

He is the anointed of God.
Luke 4:18
18 The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised,
Isaiah 9:6
6 For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.

He is the dayspring.
Luke 1:78
78 Through the tender mercy of our God; whereby the dayspring from on high hath visited us,

He is the head of all.
Ephesians 1:22
22 And hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church,

He is the Holy One of God.Mark 1:24
24 Saying, Let us alone; what have we to do with thee, thou Jesus of Nazareth? art thou come to destroy us? I know thee who thou art, the Holy One of God.

He is the keeper of salvation.Luke 1:69
69 And hath raised up an horn of salvation for us in the house of his servant David;

He is the I Am.
John 8:58
58 Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Before Abraham was, I am.

His name is Jesus.
Matthew 1:21
21 And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins.

He is the only King and Lord.
Revelation 19:16
16 And he hath on his vesture and on his thigh a name written, KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS.

He is the Lamb of God.
John 1:29
29 The next day John seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.

He is the Light of the world.
John 8:12
12 Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.

He is the rose and lily.
Song of Solomon 2:1
I am the rose of Sharon, and the lily of the valleys.

He is the lion of the tribe of Juda.
Revelation 5:5
5 And one of the elders saith unto me, Weep not: behold, the Lion of the tribe of Juda, the Root of David, hath prevailed to open the book, and to loose the seven seals thereof.

He is the Lord of all.
Acts 10:36
36 The word which God sent unto the children of Israel, preaching peace by Jesus Christ: (he is Lord of all:)

He is the Lord of grace.
Acts 15:11
11 But we believe that through the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ we shall be saved, even as they.

He is the King of saints.
Revelation 15:3
3 And they sing the song of Moses the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb, saying, Great and marvellous are thy works, Lord God Almighty; just and true are thy ways, thou King of saints.

He is the Christ.
John 1:41
41 He first findeth his own brother Simon, and saith unto him, We have found the Messias, which is, being interpreted, the Christ.

He is the Prince of Life.
Acts 3:15
15 And killed the Prince of life, whom God hath raised from the dead; whereof we are witnesses.

He is the Righteous Judge.
2 Timothy 4:8
8 Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing.

He is the just Governor.
Matthew 2:6
6 And thou Bethlehem, in the land of Juda, art not the least among the princes of Juda: for out of thee shall come a Governor, that shall rule my people Israel.

He is the Lord & Saviour.
2 Peter 2:20
20 For if after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, they are again entangled therein, and overcome, the latter end is worse with them than the beginning.

He is the Shepherd and Bishop of our souls.
1 Peter 2:25
25 For ye were as sheep going astray; but are now returned unto the Shepherd and Bishop of your souls.

He is the Son of God.
John 1:34
34 And I saw, and bare record that this is the Son of God.

He is the Word of God. John 1:1
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

He is the Sun of righteousness.
Malachi 4:2
2 But unto you that fear my name shall the Sun of righteousness arise with healing in his wings; and ye shall go forth, and grow up as calves of the stall.

He is the resurrection and the life.
John 11:25
25 Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live:

He is the Comforter giver.
John 14:16
16 And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever;

He is the Word of Life.
1 John 1:1
That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, of the Word of life;

He is the Alpha & Omega
Revelation 1:8
8 I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, saith the Lord, which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty.
He is the faithful and true witness. The Creator of all.
Revelation 3:14
14 And unto the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write; These things saith the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation of God;

He has preeminence in all.
Colossians 1:18
18 And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence.

He is the head of all principalities and powers.
Colossians 2:10
10 And ye are complete in him, which is the head of all principality and power:

Recipes for Christmas Dinner

Christmas Goose

1 goose (12 to 14), left at room temperature 1 hour before cooking
1 medium-size bulb (head)garlic, cut in half
1 small onion, cut in half
1 lemon or small orange, cut in half
¼ teaspoon each salt and pepper
1/3 cup sweet red wine, such as port, sherry or marsala, or apple juice
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1/3 cup water
2 cups canned beef broth
1 cup pitted prunes, halved

Place oven rack in lowest position. Heat oven 425 F.

Remove giblets, neck and any excess fat from around goose's body and neck cavities, cutting with a small sharp knife when necessary. Discard fat. Rinse bird inside and out with cool water. Taking care not to stab the flesh, pierce skin all over with a fork; this will help render fat from skin. Cut off wing tips and discard.

Put garlic, onion and lemon halves in body cavity. Tie ends of drumsticks together to close cavity. Rub bird with salt and pepper. Place breast up directly in a roasting pan. Place neck next to goose.

Roast 30 minutes, then place roasting pan on stovetop. Remove fat from pan to a 1-quart heatproof bowl or glass measuring cup; you will remove about 2 cups. Turn bird breast-side down; roast 30 minutes more, remove fat but do not turn bird over. (See Note.)

Reduce oven temperature to 325 degrees F. Roast goose about 1 ½ hours longer or until thermometer inserted into center of a thigh next to body registers 185 degrees F. Remove bird to a carving board; cover loosely with foil. Discard neck.

Pour pan drippings into a heatproof container and discard when cool. Place roasting pan on burner over medium heat. Add wine and stir with a wooden spoon, scraping up any browned bits. When mixture darkens and becomes syrupy, stir cornstarch into water until blended, then whisk into wine mixture. Boil 1 minute; whisk in broth and stir in prunes. Cook, stirring occasionally, 5 minutes or until fruit has plumped and sauce is slightly thickened.

Note. This fat is wonderful for frying potatoes (store it in the fridge). But go easy: It is fat, after all.

Easy Bake Stuffing

1 loaf of day old French bread, cut into 3/4-inch cubes (about 10-12 cups)
1 cup walnuts
2 cups each, chopped onion and celery
6 Tbsp butter
1 green apple, peeled, cored, chopped
3/4 cup of currants or raisins or crasins
Several (5 to 10) chopped green olives (martini olives, the ones with the pimento)
Stock from the turkey (1 cup to 2 cups) (can substitute chicken stock)
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
1 teaspoon poultry seasoning or ground sage (to taste)
Salt and freshly ground pepper (to taste)

Toast the walnuts by heating them in a frying pan on medium high heat for a few minutes, stirring until they are slightly browned (not burned) OR put them in the microwave on high until you can smell the aroma of them toasting, about a minute or two. Let them cool while you are toasting the bread, then roughly chop them.

Heat a large sauté pan on medium heat. Melt 3 Tbsp butter in the pan, add the bread cubes, and stir to coat the bread pieces with the melted butter. Then let them toast; only turn them when they have become a little browned on a side.

In a large Dutch oven, sauté chopped onions and celery on medium high heat with the remaining 3 Tbsp butter until cooked through, about 5-10 minutes. Add the bread. Add cooked chopped walnuts. Add chopped green apple, currants, raisins, olives, parsley. Add one cup of the stock from cooking the turkey giblets or chicken stock (enough to keep the stuffing moist while you are cooking it). Add sage, poultry seasoning, salt & pepper.

Cover. Turn heat to low. Cook for an hour or until the apples are cooked through. Check every ten minutes or so and add water or stock as needed while cooking to keep the stuffing moist and keep it from sticking to the bottom of the pan.

Sweet Tater Pie

1/2 lbs sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 2 inch pieces
2 large eggs
1/3 cup plus another 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
3 Tbsp maple syrup
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
3/4 cup plus 1 Tbsp heavy cream
1 pre-baked pie crust
3 Tbsp butter
1 cup of pecans, half of them lightly chopped, the other half whole

Make the sweet potato purée. In a large saucepan, cover the sweet potato pieces with water and bring to a boil. Simmer for 15 minutes or until the sweet potato pieces are soft when poked with a knife or fork. Drain. Purée in a food processor until smooth. You may need to add back a little liquid (a tablespoon or two of water) to get a smooth consistency. Let cool completely before using.

Prepare the pie. Preheat the oven to 375°F. Place rack at bottom of oven. In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, 1/3 cup brown sugar, and maple syrup until smooth. Add the sweet potato purée, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and 3/4 cup of cream. Mix until completely smooth. Pour into cooled crust.

Bake the pie. Bake on lowest rack for 50 minutes, until filling has set. You may want to tent the edges of the pie with aluminum foil to prevent the pie crust edges from burning. Cool on rack for one hour. Then transfer to refrigerator and chill completely.

Make the pecan topping. Melt 3 Tbsp butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Add 1/2 cup of brown sugar and cook, stirring, until smooth, about 3 minutes. Add 1 Tbsp cream, and mix in. Add the pecans, mix to coat the pecans with the sugar mixture. Let cool for 1 minute. Pour mixture over cooled pie. Use a rubber spatula to spread topping over the top of the pie. Cool until topping has hardened, about 30 minutes.

Mulled Cider

1/2 gallon of fresh, unfiltered apple cider
1 orange
15 cloves
4 3-inch sticks of cinnamon
15 allspice berries
1 teaspoon of nutmeg
7 pods of cardamon
1/4 cup brown sugar

Pour apple cider into a 3-quart saucepan, cover, turn the heat on medium-high. While cider is heating up, take a vegetable peeler and peel away a couple thick strips of peel from the orange. Press about half of the cloves into the peeled part of the orange. (You can also just quarter the orange and add the slices and cloves separately. I just like seeing the orange bob up and down.) Place orange, orange peel strips, the remaining cloves, and the rest of the ingredients into the sauce pan with the cider. Keep covered and heat the mulled cider mixture to a simmer and reduce heat to low. Simmer for 20 minutes on low heat.

Use a fine mesh sieve to strain the hot mulled cider away from the orange, cloves, and other spices. If you want, you can add a touch of bourbon, brandy, or rum to spike it up a bit. Serve hot. Add a cinnamon stick to each cup if desired.

Makes 8 cups.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Coconut Crusted Basa & More

Okay after many requests for it here is the Chef K’s Coconut Crusted Basa recipe, enjoy.

First things first however, some may not know or had the experience of eating Basa at the restaurants, so a little background. Basa is a type of catfish (Pangasius bocourti) grown in the Mekong river delta of Vietnam. It belongs to the shark catfish family found through out Asia. It is a mild whitefish not as strong in flavour to it’s American cousin, but can be used for all catfish recipes (I even use it for a great beer battered fish & chip) so it is very versatile.

1 avocado
½ cups mayonnaise
½ cup sour cream
½ cup thick coconut cream
1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
¼ cup papaya nectar
1 tsp crushed red chilies
3 oz crushed pecans
3 oz shredded coconut
2 cups Panko (Japanese bread crumbs)
6-6 0z Basa Fillets
6 tbsp melted butter

Preheat the oven to 400.
Peel and seed the avocado and place into a food processor, add the remaining ingredients and process into a smooth sauce . Reserve.

Blend the pecans, coconut and Panko together.

Spread the sauce very lightly over the fish fillets, Press into the bread crumb mixture, place on a lightly oiled baking sheets, brush with melted butter and bake for 15 minutes, serve with the remaining sauce on side.

Oven Roasted Basa With Sweet Onion Marmalade
2 pounds sweet Vidalia onions, thinly sliced (about 8 small onions)
2 cups chicken stock or canned broth
1/2 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
1 quart heavy cream
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
8 - 6 oz Basa fillets
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

To prepare the marmalade, place onions in a large, heavy saucepan and add chicken stock. Cover and cook over medium heat for 15 minutes. Add thyme leaves and cook, uncovered, for about 45 minutes or until onions start to color and liquid is almost evaporated. Add cream and cook until mixture thickens. Add vinegar and cook for 2 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Place basa fillets on a flat surface. Season with salt and pepper. Spread 1 tablespoon of the onion marmalade over each fillet. Starting with the smaller tail end, tightly roll fillets and secure with toothpicks. Arrange rolled fillets in a shallow baking dish several inches apart. Top each with 1 tablespoon of marmalade.

Bake for 10 minutes or until fish flakes easily when tested with a fork. Remove from oven and let sit for 5 minutes. Place 3 tablespoons of marmalade on each warmed serving plate and top with the cooked fillets. Remove toothpicks before serving with a Raisin Almond rice pilaff.

Creole Basa Cakes
1Lb. Basa fillets
6 tablespoons Butter
¾ cup Flour
2 cups milk
½ teaspoon Salt
1 tbsp Chef K’s Cajun seasonings
1½ cups Bell pepper, finely chopped
½ cup Green onions, finely chopped
½ teaspoon Tabasco
1½ cups Fresh breadcrumbs

Broil or grill the Basa fillets -- over medium-high heat, about 5 minutes per side, or until flesh flakes with fork. Allow fillets to cool.
Melt the butter in a heavy saucepan. Add the flour. Stir constantly for 2 to 3 minutes, while the roux bubbles. Add the milk slowly, continuing to stir until the cream sauce is thick, 10 to 12 minutes, add the seasonings and mix well

Flake the catfish fillets into a bowl. Add the cream sauce and the remaining ingredients, mixing thoroughly. Use the fish mixture immediately or refrigerate for up to 2 days.

Using a large spoon, make cakes with the fix mixture and coat them completely with more fresh breadcrumbs. Using a heavy skillet, saute the patties gently in 1 tablespoon oil and 1 tablespoon butter, until they are browned. Keep warm while you continue cooking the cakes, adding more oil and butter as needed.

I’ll be back this week with our Christmas recipes.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Chinese Dinner

So I love Chinese food, who doesn’t, but lately the price seems rather high and the wait much too long. With the right ingredients I can prepare a nice dinner at home almost as fast as it takes them to get it to me. So this week's post is some very tasty Chinese recipes that you can make and enjoy at home.

General Tsao’s Chicken

1/2 cup cornstarch
1/4 cup water
1 1/2 teaspoons minced garlic
1 1/2 teaspoons minced fresh ginger root
3/4 cup white sugar
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup white wine vinegar
1/2 cup hot chicken broth
1 teaspoon monosodium glutamate (MSG) (optional)
3 pounds skinless, boneless chicken breast halves, cut into bite size pieces
1/2 cup soy sauce
1 teaspoon ground white pepper
1 egg
1 cup cornstarch
1 cup vegetable oil
2 cups chopped green onions
16 chile peppers, sun-dried

Make Sauce:
In a large bowl combine 1/2 cup cornstarch and 1/4 cup water. Mix together. Add garlic, ginger, sugar, 1/4 cup soy sauce and white wine vinegar. Then add chicken broth and monosodium glutamate and stir all together until sugar dissolves. Refrigerate until needed.

To Prepare Chicken:
In a separate bowl, combine chicken, 1/2 cup soy sauce and white pepper. Stir in egg. Add 1 cup cornstarch and stir until chicken is evenly coated. Add oil to help separate chicken pieces. Divide chicken into small quantities and deep fry at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) until crispy. Drain on paper towels.

To Make Mixture:
Place a small amount of oil in wok and heat until wok is hot. Add scallions and dried chile peppers and stir-fry briefly. Remove sauce from refrigerator and stir. Add sauce to wok. Then add fried chicken and cook until sauce thickens (add cornstarch or water as needed until sauce is as thick as you like it).

Fried Rice

2 cups uncooked instant rice
2 cubes chicken bouillon
1 cup snow peas
1 cup chopped onions
1 cup bean sprouts
3 eggs, beaten
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 teaspoons soy sauce, or to taste

In a saucepan bring 4 cups of water to a boil. Add chicken bouillon and rice, and stir. Cover, remove from heat and let stand 5 minutes, or until liquid is absorbed. Refrigerate overnight. To the rice add snow peas, onions and bean sprouts. In a small skillet over medium heat, scramble the eggs; add to rice mixture. Heat oil in a large skillet or wok over medium heat. Fry the rice mixture with soy sauce until liquid evaporates; be careful not to fry until crisp.

Kung Pao Beef

1 Lb. Flank steak cut into thin strips

2 teaspoons soy sauce
2 teaspoons Chinese rice wine or dry sherry
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1 1/2 teaspoons cornstarch

2 tablespoons dark soy sauce
1 tablespoon Chinese rice wine or dry sherry
1 teaspoon sugar
8 small dried red chili peppers
2 cloves garlic
2 green onions (spring onions, scallions)
4 tablespoons oil for stir-frying, or as needed
1 teaspoon Szechuan peppercorn, optional
1/2 cup peanuts or cashews
a few drops sesame oil, optional

Combine the beef with the marinade ingredients, adding the cornstarch last. Marinate the chicken for 25 minutes.

While the beef is marinating, prepare the sauce and vegetables: In a small bowl, combine the dark soy sauce, rice wine, and sugar. Set aside.

Cut the chilies in half so that they are approximately the same size as the chicken cubes. Remove the seeds. Peel and finely chop the garlic. Cut the green onion on the diagonal into thirds.

Heat the wok over medium-high to high heat. Add 2 tablespoons oil. When the oil is hot, add the beef, stir-fry until 80 percent cooked. Remove from the wok.

Add 2 tablespoons oil. When the oil is hot, add the garlic and stir-fry until aromatic (about 30 seconds). Add the chili peppers and the Szechuan peppercorn if using. Stir-fry briefly until they turn dark red.

Add the sauce to the wok. Bring to a boil. Add the beef back into the pan. Stir in the peanuts and the green onion. Remove from the heat and stir in the sesame oil. Serve hot.

Sweet & Sour Shrimp

1 (8oz) can pineapple chunks in juice
1tsp cornstarch
3 tbsp chili sauce
1tbsp soy sauce, low-sodium
1 tsp minced garlic
cooking spray
2 tsp sesame oil
1 medium-size green pepper, coarsely chopped
1/2 medium onion, sliced
3/4 lbs fresh shrimp, medium-sized, peeled and deveined

Drain pineapple, reserving juice; set pineapple chunks aside. Combine reserved juice, cornstarch, and next 3 ingredients; set aside. Coat a large nonstick skillet or wok with cooking spray, and add oil. Place over medium-high heat until hot. Add green pepper and onion; stir-fry 2 to 3 minutes or until crisp-tender. Add shrimp; stir-fry 2 to 3 minutes or until shrimp turn pink. Stir cornstarch mixture and pineapple chunks into shrimp mixture. Cook over medium heat, stirring contstanly, until mixture is thick and bubbly. Serve immediately.

Friday, September 14, 2007


If you haven’t thought of Thanksgiving yet, here is a really great recipe from my Fresh Idea’s Spice cookbook, that will help you get through the holiday.

6-6 oz boneless turkey breasts
4 tbsp butter
3 minced garlic cloves
1 sliced green bell pepper
1 sliced onion
3 cups peeled, seeded, chopped tomatoes
1/4 cup sherry
1 tsp paprika
½ tsp salt
¼ tsp pepper

(Step 1) In a skillet, fry the turkey in the butter for 4-6 minutes per side (depending on the thickness of the breast). Remove and reserve hot.

(Step 2) Add the garlic, bell pepper and onion to the skillet, sauté until tender. Add the tomatoes and bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes. Add the sherry and seasonings, continue to simmer until
the liquid has evaporated.

(Step 3) Place the turkey breasts on a platter, pour the sauce over the turkey and serve.

Now Thanksgiving is not without the traditional Pumpkin Pie so here's a really good one.

Pate Brisee (Short Crust Pastry):
1 1/4 cups (175 grams) all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon (14 grams) granulated white sugar

1/2 cup (113 grams) unsalted butter, chilled, and cut into 1 inch (2.54 cm) pieces

1/8 to 1/4 cup (30 - 60 ml) ice water

Pecan and Gingersnap Layer:
1/4 cup (25 grams) pecans, toasted and ground

1/4 cup (25 grams) gingersnap cookies, crushed

Pumpkin Filling:

3 large eggs

2 cups fresh pumpkin puree or 1 - 15 ounce can (425 grams) pure pumpkin

1/2 cup (120 ml) heavy whipping cream

1/2 cup (110 grams) light brown sugar

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

1/8 teaspoon ground cloves

1/2 teaspoon salt

Maple Whipped Cream:

1 cup (240 ml) heavy whipping cream

1 1/2 tablespoons pure maple syrup

Pate Brisee: In a food processor, place the flour, salt, and sugar and process until combined. Add the butter and process until the mixture resembles coarse meal (about 15 seconds). Pour 1/8 cup (30 ml) water in a slow, steady stream, through the feed tube until the dough just holds together when pinched. If necessary, add more water. Do not process more than 30 seconds.

Turn the dough onto your work surface and gather into a ball. Flatten into a disk, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for 30 minutes to one hour before using. This will chill the butter and relax the gluten in the flour.

After the dough has chilled sufficiently, place on a lightly floured surface, and roll into a 13 inch (33 cm) circle. (To prevent the pastry from sticking to the counter and to ensure uniform thickness, keep lifting up and turning the pastry a quarter turn as you roll (always roll from the center of the pastry outwards).) Fold the dough in half and gently transfer to a 9 inch (23 cm) pie pan. Brush off any excess flour and tuck the overhanging pastry under itself. Use a fork to make a decorative border. Alternatively, you can trim the pastry to the edge of the pie pan. With the remaining pastry make decorative cut-outs (leaves, pumpkins, etc.) and with a little water, attach them around the lip of the pie pan. Refrigerate the pastry, covered with plastic wrap, for about 30 minutes before pouring in the filling.

Pecan and Gingersnap Layer: Toast pecans in a 350 degree F (180 degree C) oven for 8 minutes or until lightly browned and aromatic. Cool and then place the pecans in a food processor and process until finely ground. Combine the ground pecans with the crushed gingersnap cookies. Press this mixture evenly onto the bottom and up the sides of the unbaked pie crust. Cover and return the pastry to the refrigerator while you make the pumpkin filling.

Increase the oven temperature to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C) and place rack in bottom third of the oven.

Make the Pumpkin Filling: In a large bowl lightly whisk the eggs. Add the remaining ingredients and stir to combine. Pour the mixture into the prepared pie shell and place on a large baking pan to catch any spills. Bake the pie for about 45 to 55 minutes or until the filling is set and the crust has browned (the center will still look wet). (A knife inserted about 1 inch (2.54 cm) from side of pan will come out almost clean.)

Place the baked pie on a wire rack to cool. Serve at room temperature with maple whipped cream. Store any leftovers in the refrigerator.

Makes one 9 inch (23 cm) pie.

Make the Maple Whipped Cream:

Place the heavy whipping cream and maple syrup in bowl of your electric mixer. With the whisk attachment, whip the cream until soft peaks form.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Fragaria x ananassa

Fragaria x ananassa

Sounds like something everyone might want to stay clear of, can you picture the terrible disease you would suffering from with Fragaria x ananassa, it runs shivers up my spine, and so it should for if serve cold Fragaria x ananassa would not be a threat at all but rather be a real treat. You see Fragaria x ananassa is the scientific name for the strawberry, now you’re seeing red.

It seems that our love affair with the first of springs fruits ventures back to Europe when the explores of the time (1700's) came to both North & South America and returned with a fruit from the Virginia area and from Chile. Once in France this two berries got together and began to reproduce offspring bigger, redder and sweeter than their parents. Today the strawberry is grown in every country around the world, thanks to the America’s it can take it rightful place along with potatoes and tomatoes as our most important original exports.

Strawberries are the only fruit that has it’s seeds on the outside with each berry producing about 200 seeds. A rose by any other name would be called a strawberry as would an apple and the cherry all members of the same family.
Strawberry Shortcake was one of the earlier culinary concoctions thought to have derived from an Indian dish--a slightly sweetened biscuit mounded over with fresh wild strawberries, smothered with layers of fresh warm cream.

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons sugar
1 stick butter, chilled
2/3 to 3/4 cup half and half, milk, or cream
1quart strawberries
1/3 cup sugar
1 1/2 cups whipping cream for topping, or non-dairy whipped topping

Rinse the berries under cold water; drain well. Hull and slice the berries; place in a bowl. Sprinkle with the sugar; cover and let stand at room temperature for about 1 hour. Whip the cream (sweeten with 2 or 3 tablespoons of sugar, if desired) until it holds a soft peak. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Set rack at center level.
In a food processor (you can use a pastry cutter or fingertips) combine the flour, baking powder, salt and sugar and pulse to mix. Cut butter into about 8 pieces and add to the mixture. Pulse until the mixture resembles coarse meal, but with few pea-size chunks of butter left in the mixture. Transfer the mixture to a large bowl and make a well in the center. With a fork stir in the cream or milk, just until dough is moist. Be very careful not to overwork. The dough doesn't have to hold together well at this point. Let the dough stand for a minute. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Fold the dough over on itself (knead) 2 or 3 times, until it is holding together and is less sticky.
Gently pat the dough into a 6 by 12-inch rectangle about 3/4-inch thick and cut into 8 (3-inch) biscuits with a floured round cutter. Transfer to a buttered foil-lined cookie sheet. Brush on a little milk or cream and sprinkle tops with some sugar, if desired. Bake for 10 to 15 minutes, until risen and golden brown. Remove to a platter and split each biscuit horizontally with a serrated knife. Butter the hot biscuits then top with about 1/3 cup of berry mixture. Replace the tops and top with a tablespoon or so of berries. Serve with whipped cream for topping.

Super Easy Strawberry Jam

2 cups of strawberries capped and cut up
1 ½ cups of sugar
2 teaspoons of pectin

Pour the sugar over the berries and let sit for 10 minutes. Mash well. Stir in pectin. Microwave high for 4 minutes. Then, microwave medium for 6 minutes. Pour in hot glasses or cups. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate. Keeps for 2-3 months in fridge.

Rhubarb Strawberry Cobbler

1 1/4 cups white sugar
3 tablespoons flour
1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
6 cups coarsely chopped fresh rhubarb
3 cups sliced fresh strawberries
1 1/2 cups flour
3 tablespoons white sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons butter
1 cup buttermilk


In a large bowl combine sugar, flour and cinnamon. Add rhubarb and strawberries and toss to coat.
Spread in a 9 x 13 inch baking dish. Bake at 400 degrees F. for 10 minutes.
In a medium bowl combine flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Cut in butter until mixture resembles small peas.
With a fork, stir in the buttermilk to form a soft dough.
Drop dough by tablespoon over the hot filling. Make 12 mounds.
Bake at 400 degrees F. for about 25 minutes, until topping is golden brown and has risen

Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Five Course Wine Dinner

Thought y'all would like to see the pic's from a 5 course wine pairing lunch we served last Friday.
Jumbo Ravioli with Prawn

Loster Bisque

Frisee Salad with Cherry Tomato Tartlet

Roasted Veal Loin with Cornbread Stuffed Quail

Chocolate Trio

Monday, February 26, 2007

Greg's Recipes

Every restaurant whether large or small is reliant upon team effort, every so often the team just clicks and when it does food that is fantastic will be produced. Last time I introduced you to Alan Smith my sous chef, this time round I'd like to introduce you to Greg Skolimowski, a young graduate of the Stafford Culinary Arts School. His desire is to run his own kitchen someday and that he will for his drive to learn is very high. I may be a little tough on him but he is learning fast and enjoys knowing that his food (a reflection of himself) is being received well and enjoyed. I share with you some of Greg's winter recipes to warm you up, enjoy.

Braised Ox-tail in Port and red wine with potato puree, baby carrots and turnips
-Ox-tails - Port - Red Wine - Beef Stock - Yukon Gold potatoes - Shallots - Baby Carrots - Baby white turnips - garlic Cloves
- Salt - Pepper - Olive Oil (EVO)
Cut ox-tails @ the knuckles for even portions. Sear both ends of the meat so that it is golden brown before braising.
Cook beef stock, red wine and port together and reduce by 1/3 so that the flavours of the liquids fortify and blend together.
Place the ox tails in a deep hotel pan with at least ½ inch room in between each piece. Cover with all the braising liquid, shallots and garlic and place into an oven @ 325F.
Braise the tails for at least 1+1/2 hours then check for tenderness. Continue cooking till fork tender.
Once cooked, remove from oven and let them cool. Remove all the tails and put them into a separate hotel pan and take all the liquid used for braising and reduce by ½ into a demi glaze.
Vegetables: The baby vegetables can either be cooked with the braise (but only put into the braise after an hour and a half) or sautéed to order, sliced on a mandoline.
Pomegranate-cured Duck breast and duck crisps with celeriac puree and beef carpaccio with balsamic glaze
- Pomegranate juice - Duck breasts - Beef tenderloin tips - Chives
- balsamic vinegar - celery root - grenadine - Dijon - salt
-Szechwan pepper - chili powder - paprika - rosemary - thyme
Duck Cure:
2 cups pomegranate juice
½ cup grenadine
3 tbsp sea salt
2 tbsp Szechwan peppercorns (toasted + crushed)
2 tbsp anise seeds (toasted + crushed)
2 tbsp coriander seeds (toasted + crushed)
½ cup Sherry wine
Combine all ingredients and cook for a few minutes till all aromas are noticeable. Set aside to cool.
Trim duck breasts of skin and fat. Save the skin for duck crisps.
Cut skin into 1 inch pieces and set them to dry in the over @ 325F until it looks like cooked bacon.
Combine cool curing liquid with trimmed duck breasts in a bag that can be sealed water-tight.
Place the sealed bags of duck and cure into a pot of simmering water and cook for 3-4 minutes. Remove them after 5 minutes tops and let them cool before placing into the fridge. They will be purple by the next day.
Set duck breasts to rest for at least 12 hours. Can keep for 1 week.
Reduce balsamic vinegar and make glaze out of it.
Crust beef tenderloin tips in an even mixture of the spices and sear in frying pan on high heat till golden brown on outside. Coat cooked tenderloin in Dijon mustard and wrap tightly in plastic wrap. Put them in the freezer to harden for slicing.
peel and boil the celery root until fork tender. Remove from heat and mash it through a strainer or tammy until it is smooth. Add butter and season. Reserve until needed.
To assemble:
remove duck breasts from bag and grill them gently for 2 minutes a side. They are already cooked, just need to be warmed up and marked.
Slice carpaccio very thinly and drizzle balsamic glaze on plate to garnish it.
Heat up the celery root puree in frying pan with a touch of cream. Should be a little looser then mashed potatoes.
Scallop Ceviche with citrus dressed frisee salad and arugala
- Scallops - Lemons - Chinese 5 spice - Soy sauce (naturally brewed)
- Tarragon - Basil - Frisee lettuce - limes
- Grapefruit - coarse sea salt - radishes - pure olive oil
¼ cup lemon juice
2 tbsp Lime juice
2 tbsp soy sauce
¼ cup tarragon (whole)
¼ cup grapefruit juice
1 tbsp Chinese 5 spice
1 lb scallops (sliced in ½)
Combine and mix all ingredients but the scallops. Add the scallops when everything is thoroughly mixed. Let it sit at least 12 hours for acid to cook scallops.
Slaw Salad with herbs and Mango dressing
- cilantro - watercress - basil - chives - celery root - carrots
- Cucumber - radish - daikon radish - mango pulp - red onions
- tarragon - lemons
Pickling liquid:
2 cups rice wine vinegar
2 cups water
1 tsp salt
½ tsp black peppercorns
½ tsp fennel seeds
2 bay leaves
Sprig of thyme
- Julienne red onion, carrots, daikon radish, celery root. They are to be pickled separately to preserve the colours and not to blend together. Make 1 day in advance
- julienne cucumber, radish and basil the day of for freshness.
Combine mango pulp, lemon juice, lemon zest, salt, pepper and canola oil in food processor to make quick vinaigrette.
To assemble:
Toss all julienned vegetables along with herbs except for chives together in mango dressing. Go light on the dressing so it wont mask the other flavours.
Place them in the middle of the plate and garnish with chives and drizzle the mango dressing on top and around the salad.
1. Cracked Chocolate Earth with Whipped Cream (Flourless Chocolate Cake)
1 pound bittersweet chocolate, chopped into small pieces
1 stick unsalted butter
9 large eggs, separated
3/4 cup granulated sugar, plus 1 tablespoon
1 cup heavy cream, cold
Confectioners' sugar, for dusting
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter a 9-inch springform pan.
Put the chocolate and butter into the top of a double boiler (or in a heatproof bowl) and heat over (but not touching) about 1 inch of simmering water until melted. Meanwhile, whisk the egg yolks with the sugar in a mixing bowl until light yellow in color. Whisk a little of the chocolate mixture into the egg yolk mixture to temper the eggs - this will keep the eggs from scrambling from the heat of the chocolate; then whisk in the rest of the chocolate mixture.
Beat the egg whites in a mixing bowl until stiff peaks form and fold into the chocolate mixture. Pour into the prepared pan (spray the bottom with nonstick spray) and bake until the cake is set, the top starts to crack, and a toothpick inserted into the cake comes out with moist crumbs clinging to it, 20 to 25 minutes. Let stand 10 minutes, then unmold.
While the cake is cooking, make the whipped cream. Whip the cream until it becomes light and fluffy. Dust the cake with confectioners' sugar.
Serve at room temperature with the whipped cream.

Monday, February 12, 2007

Shroom Shroom

Many of us remember the Okanagan fires of 2002 which destroyed so much, but where ever there is darkness something always grows that is good. In this case from the fires grew a bountiful supply of some of the best wild mushrooms, morels, pines and many others. Morels were so plentiful the next year that pickers were selling them to our restaurants for less money than cultivated button mushrooms, amazing when your normally paying over 100.00 per pound.

Everyone who ever dined in a Chef K run restaurant knows I just love to use as many varieties of mushrooms as I can.

Button or white mushrooms, agaricus bisporus, that many historians consider characterless, are the cultivated variety of field mushrooms, agaricus campestris and the most common mushroom grown and sold in the United States. They are strictly cultivated in rich compost in special mushroom houses where heat and humidity are carefully controlled. The process that takes about four months begins with the preparation of the compost made from straw, corncobs, cottonseed, cocoa seed hulls, gypsum, and nitrogen supplements. In two or three weeks lacy filaments called mycelium appear in the compost which is then spread with peat moss. Soon, small white, pin-like protrusions form on the mycelium and begin to develop caps. Mature mushrooms are ready to harvest in about two and a half to three weeks after the peat moss is applied.

Enoki mushrooms, or enokitake, flammulina velutipes, originated in Japan and was gathered in the wild, but in the United States they are strictly cultivated on live or dead tree trunks as well as tree roots and even branches that are covered with soil. Grown in clusters, they develop long thin stems, about four inches, with tiny little caps, the largest being the size of a pencil eraser. With their delicate ivory color and dainty appearance, they're prized for their ability to provide a simple yet dramatic garnish.

Shiitake mushrooms, lentinus edodus, also known as Japanese black forest mushrooms, have been commercially cultivated since their original journey from Japan and are widely available either fresh or dried in supermarkets as well as in Asian markets. Originally harvested from hardwood trees in their native country for at least two thousand years, they are best cultivated on artificial logs. Shiitakes have a medium brown color with a distinctive, thick, umbrella-shaped cap, and offer a rich, distinctly earthy flavor and chewy texture.
Oyster mushrooms, pleurotus ostreatus, remind one of little ears with many tiny, closely formed gills. Color can vary slightly depending on variety, from pale gray, to light beige, and sometimes pink or yellow. Oyster mushrooms are cultivated and grow well on rotted wood in clusters. Once purchased they should be used quickly, within a day or two, to avoid becoming soggy.

Morels, morchella esculenta, have a unique, conical cap about 1" to 5" in height with a mustard brown colored, honeycomb-like appearance. Their stems are usually white but can also become more yellowed as they grow older. Morels appear in the spring and are gathered in the wild in wooded areas. Scandinavians refer to morels as "truffles of the north."

Criminis or Creminis, agaricus bisporus, similar to the white mushrooms, are a brownish color and denser in texture with a pronounced earthy flavor. Another distinguishing feature is their thick, firm stem. Criminis are cultivated just like the white mushrooms. What makes criminis taste so different from white mushrooms is the variety of microscopic spores from which they develop.

Portabellas or Portobellos, agaricus bisporus; With a name like portabellas, you might think these spectacular giant mushrooms come from Italy. Actually, they are just criminis that have been allowed to grow six or seven days longer. Originally a mushroom farmer had overlooked a growing area and discovered the large caps by accident. At first he thought they were unmarketable but soon discovered they were highly sought after. Because of their longer growth time, portabellas have a distinctly pungent, earthy flavor and fleshy texture.

In the matter of portabella versus portobello, both spellings are used. However, the Mushroom Council has adopted the two "a" version to establish some consistency.

Chanterelles, cantharellus cibarius, grow in the wild in the Pacific Northwest in forests with pine trees and deciduous trees. Their caps are ruffled and shaped somewhat like cups with colors that vary from yellow, pale orange, and brownish gray to pale ivory. They have a unique peppery taste when eaten raw but lose this quality when cooked. Their texture is slightly rubbery. Beware of chanterelles that have become translucent. These are poisonous.

Truffles, tuber aestivum, are fungi that grow underground in wooded areas. They have never been successfully cultivated and are even a challenge to forage in the wild. Dogs or pigs are specially trained to recognize the scent of the truffle and are taken on gathering events to sniff them out. The shape of a truffle is an irregular spheroid with a lumpy surface, often described as warty, the texture fleshy. Black truffles from France, known as Perigord, are best known for flavoring pate de foie gras. White truffles gathered in Alba, Italy, are highly valued as well. Both are priced well out of affordability for the average person's budget. If you are fortunate enough to encounter the real thing, enjoy it raw, cooked, and in the form of juice or extract.

Gathering in the Wild
Since many varieties of poisonous mushrooms closely resemble edible ones, it's best to fully acquaint yourself before venturing out to gather. Even the common button mushroom has a poisonous cousin that appears harmless.

Of the many thousands of mushroom species existing today, only a few are known to possess a deadly poison. Many, however, are capable of making one very ill.

Educate yourself by reading books on wild mushrooms. When you're a novice mushroom gatherer, take an experienced teacher along until you become fully confident that you have the ability to positively identify safe, edible varieties.

Mushrooms grow all over the globe with a concentration in the Northern hemisphere and fewer in the Southern hemisphere.

Usually one type of mushroom will grow in a specific area and that area becomes known as a place to harvest that species. Because mushroom spores are so tiny and light, it's easy for them to be carried by winds and birds to locations not necessarily typical for that variety.

Some mushrooms, such as shiitake, have been grown for as long as two thousand years up to present time on rotting logs. Others need a parasitic environment such as living trees to survive.

In the mid 1600's, Parisian melon farmers discovered that they could cultivate the common mushroom known today as agaricus in their melon fields. Two hundred years later they learned that caves were the ideal environment because the climate was stable. Louis XIV may have been France's earliest mushroom grower. Today, mushrooms are grown in mushroom houses where the climate is completely controlled.

Mushrooms need not be peeled. They should be washed briefly under cool water and allowed a few minutes to air dry. The true mushroom aficionados, however, merely wipe their mushrooms with a damp cloth or use a mushroom brush with a wiping motion to clean them. Never soak mushrooms to clean them. They are porous and will absorb water.

For some preparations you may want to use just the mushroom caps without the stems. To remove stems, give them a gentle push with the thumb and they will loosen easily. As an alternative, give the stems a twist. When they snap loose, simply lift them off the cap.

Some mushrooms spoil quickly while others have a longer life span. Shiitake mushrooms will keep up to two weeks if well refrigerated.

The Mushroom Council provides some helpful information for planning servings. One pound of portabellas with stems equal about 3 to 4 medium mushrooms about 4"in diameter, or 2 large caps about 6" in diameter.

Dried: Some mushrooms such as shiitakes are available in dried form. Drying seems to enhance and intensify their flavor. If they are uncleaned, wash them thoroughly before soaking. Soak clean shiitakes for 30 to 45 minutes in very warm water to cover or pour boiling water over them. Then using a sharp knife or kitchen scissors, snip off and discard the tough stems.

Raw: White button mushrooms, criminis, enoki, portabellas, oyster, and shiitakes can be eaten raw. They can be chopped, sliced, quartered, minced, or pureed. Use a food processor for preparing large quantities or for pureeing.

Prepare mushrooms as a salad with sliced or diced onions, finely minced garlic, diced red bell pepper, extra virgin olive oil, fresh lemon or lime juice, and salt and pepper to taste.

Add sliced mushrooms to a fresh spinach salad along with raw pecans or walnuts, chopped scallions, and finely diced fresh pears. Add balsamic vinaigrette and enjoy.

Combine sliced mushrooms with chopped snap peas, diced jicama, diced red bell pepper, and kernels cut from fresh white corn. Add a pungent dressing and fill scooped out tomato halves. Garnish with fresh herbs and serve as an attractive side dish.

Marinate mushrooms in equal parts of apple cider vinegar, soy sauce or Bragg Liquid Aminos, and water for 2 hours. Drain and fill with seed cheese (a mixture of soaked and sprouted seeds, such as sunflower seeds, combined with minced vegetables and seasonings).

Broiling or Grilling
Portabellas, either whole or sliced, and shiitakes left whole are exceptional when lightly brushed with oil, seasoned with salt and pepper, and broiled or grilled about 3" from the heat source for 3 to 5 minutes on each side. Large portabellas need a full 5 minutes on each side. If desired, marinate in Bragg Liquid Aminos or soy sauce, a little vinegar, minced garlic, minced ginger, and freshly ground black pepper for about 1 hour before broiling.

If you use only the mushroom caps in a special dish, reserve the stems for adding to soups, stir fries, and stuffings.

As a variation to oil basting, try using teriyaki sauce, your favorite pungent salad dressing, hoisin sauce, or peanut sauce.

Grill kabobs by threading whole crimini or white mushrooms on a skewer with vegetables such as zucchini, yellow crookneck squash, chunks of eggplant, colorful bell peppers, and cherry tomatoes. Brush with a tangy dressing and grill, turning skewers frequently, for about 10 to 12 minutes.

Serve the portabella as the centerpiece of the meal and add side dishes such as a grain dish, salad, and steamed or stir-fried vegetables.

White or crimini mushrooms can be sliced and wrapped in aluminum foil (shiny side inside), drizzled with extra virgin olive oil, and seasoned with salt and pepper before grilling on the barbecue for about 7 to 10 minutes.

Using a large skillet or flat bottom wok, combine a half-pound of sliced mushrooms and 1 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil. Cook over high heat, stirring frequently, until all released mushroom liquid has evaporated, about 5 minutes. Season to taste and enjoy.

Oyster mushrooms should be very briefly sauteed,, about 1 to 1 minutes to best enjoy their delicate flavor. They accept seasoning well and can make a tasty dish when cooked with onions and chopped cashews. The stems become tough on very large oyster mushrooms and may have to be cut away.

Shiitakes need about 3 to 5 minutes of sauteing to bring out their pungent flavors.

Chanterelles are best started on medium heat with a little extra virgin olive oil to help them release their liquid. The heat can then be turned up to saute them for 3 to 5 minutes.

If you plan to cook enoki mushrooms, drop them into the saute pan at the last minute and cook briefly, a minute or two at most. Enokis become tough if overcooked.

As a low fat method of sauteing, use a seasoned vegetable broth or red or white wine instead of extra virgin olive oil.

Create a side dish with sauteed mushrooms combined with nuts and diced vegetables of your choice. Add a pungent dressing and toss to combine flavors.

Slice or leave mushrooms whole. Toss about half-pound of mushrooms in 1 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil. Spread mushrooms out on a large baking pan, season with salt and pepper, and roast at 400 for about 15 to 20 minutes. Check frequently and baste with oil as needed. Portabellas develop a delectable dense, meaty texture when roasted. Slice portabellas thick for a substantial serving. They tend to lose much of their liquid during cooking.

Braising Morels require special attention. Be sure to wash them thoroughly to remove any insects that may be imbedded in the crevices. It's best to saute them briefly in a little extra virgin olive oil and lemon juice. Then, cover the pan and simmer for as long as 1 hour, checking after 45 minutes for tenderness.

Depending on the variety, mushrooms contain 1 to 3% protein and all the essential amino acids, making the protein complete. For vegetarians, mushrooms make an ideal meat substitute.

They also have many of the B vitamins. Most cultivated mushrooms contain vitamins C and K, and some vitamin E.

Mushrooms are a rich source of potassium and phosphorous. About 5 raw button mushrooms contain 370 mg. of potassium and 104 mg. phosphorous.

Portabellas are an ideal food for those watching their waistlines. They contain no fat or sodium, are high in fiber, and low in calories (40 calories for a medium size). Also noteworthy is that mushrooms are very low in carbohydrates, making them ideal for diabetics

Chanterelles, with their appealing yellow coloring, are the only mushrooms that contain beta carotene and vitamin D.

Lobster Medallions with Mushrooms

1-1.5# Lobster tail (thawed)
1-cup dry vermouth
3-cup water
1/4 cup chopped morels
1-cup heavy cream
2-tspoon dry tarragon
1-stick butter, cut into pieces
Bring vermouth and water to low boil in steamer, add lobster tail in shell and steam for 20 minutes. Remove lobster and wrap in damp cloth to retain heat, add morels, tarragon and heavy cream to liquid and allow to simmer for 5 minutes, reducing liquid to ½ . Strain and add butter. Whisk to incorporate and place to side. Remove lobster meat from the shell and slice into 1/4 inch thick medallions. Place on medallions on warmed serving platter and drizzle sauce over and serve.

This is a thin sauce but may be thickened if desired.

Fresh Lobster Spring Rolls with Lime-Ginger Vinaigrette

Makes 10 rolls
1 each fresh lobster, about 1-1/2 lbs. cooked
1 head butter lettuce
1 ea. small carrot
1/2 ea. hothouse cucumber
3 oz Enoki
20 ea. basil leaves
20 ea. cilantro sprigs
40 ea. garlic chives
20 ea. mint leaves
1/4 cup toasted peanuts, chopped coarsely
15 Pcs. rice wrappers
1 / 4 cup rice wine vinegar
1 ea. egg yolk
1 tsp. water
1 cup peanut oil
1/2 cup cilantro, basil and mint leaves, loosely packed
2 tbsp. rice wine vinegar
1 ea. juice of lime
1 tbsp. minced fresh ginger
salt and pepper
Prepare the Vinaigrette:

Place the egg yolk and water into the workbowl of a food processor and turn it on. Slowly add half of the oil then add the herbs and ginger then puree until the mixture becomes smooth. Add the vinegar then add the remainder of the oil. Finish with the lime juice then season to taste with salt and pepper.

Prepare the Rolls:

Remove the lobster meat from the shell and dice into 1/2 inch pieces. Keep chilled.

Peel the carrot and wash the cucumber. Cut the cucumber in half lengthwise and scoop out the seeds. Cut both the carrot and cucumber into thin julienne and reserve. Prepare the herb leaves by washing and spinning dry.

Trim the enoki root.

Separate, wash and dry the leaves from the lettuce, discarding the dark green outer leaves. You will need one leaf for each roll. Lay the leaves down, concave side up on a clean work surface and assemble the remaining ingredients in each leaf starting with the herbs and finishing with the lobster and peanuts.

Heat a 5 qt. pot of water to a boil and add 1/4 cup rice wine vinegar. Dip a rice wrapper into the water for a second or two then lay out onto a damp towel. After it becomes soft, place the lettuce cup into the center and roll into a cylinder, tucking the ends in before the final roll.

Chill well, then slice the hard ends off and cut each roll into six equal slices. Drizzle the vinaigrette over the top and serve.

Chicken in Champagne Mushrooms Sauce
1 1/2 pounds chicken filets
2/3 cup champagne
1 pound oyster mushrooms
2/3 heavy whipping cream
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
salt and cayenne pepper
1/2 cup peanut oil
freshly ground white pepper

Rinse the chicken fillets under cool water and pat them dry with paper towels. In a large non-aluminum saucepan, bring the Champagne to a boil. Add the mushrooms and cook for 3 minutes. Remove the mushrooms from the liquid with a slotted spoon and set aside.

Boil the cooking liquid for about 15 minutes, or until reduced to about 3 tablespoons Whisk in the whipping cream, then remove from heat and whisk in the butter. Set aside.

Preheat the broiler or charcoal grill. Sprinkle salt and cayenne pepper on both sides of the filets and brush with the peanut oil. Broil for 4 minutes on each side. Remove and keep warm. Reheat the sauce gently (Do not boil) and season to taste with salt and pepper.

To serve:

Ladle sauce onto 4 plates. Place the grilled chicken in the center, dividing it evenly. Arrange the mushrooms in a large circle around the chicken.

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Dinner With Glen Campbell

Last week Dianna and I had the opportunity to have dinner with our friend Glen Campbell (yes the Country Music legend) with his daughter Debby. What an interesting day it was. First I was amazed to see 5800 people gather on a snowy January afternoon at a little Casino north of Toronto to hear Glen and Debby, but what a concert he gave and no one left disappointed. Afterward we met for dinner in a Italian restaurant in the Casino where the food was okay, but he company great. We talked about his early start, time spend with Frank Sinatra, playing for some of the biggest names in show business amongst other topics. Debby told us about her son who is now a sous chef in South Beach Miami who has had the chance to appear on the Next Great Chef television show but as of yet has not made a decision, but knowing his mother and grandfather whatever he does he'll do it well.

I'll post some of the conversations real soon, but if you get the chance take in one of his concerts, your gonna love it.

Riverbank Mill Sous Chef Alan Smith

Malibu Chicken

Teriyaki Beef Skewers

Roasted Red Pepper & Shrimp Soup

Riverbank Mill Sous Chef Alan Smith

Chocolate Croissant Bread Pudding

Sometimes a cook comes along who has the desire and the will to achieve his goals, Alan is such a cook, the youngest person I have ever promoted to sous chef, Alan not only shows alot of promise to learn but works very hard to put into practice what has learned. Come experience his cuisine which displays his ability to create flavours that are exciting while being visually appealing.

Alan is constantly looking to improve his cuisine and turly desires to see that his plates are what keeps his customerscoming back for more. Look to this blog for his recipes pictured here, coming real soon. Malibu Rum and Crab Chicken with Rum and Raisin sauce, Teriyaki Beef Skewers, Roasted Red Pepper & Shrimp Bisque and A Chocolate Croissant Bread Pudding.

Monday, January 22, 2007

Radio Show

Many people have been upset that we are no longer on the radio and are wondering where can they go to hear the same music we featured on the show. We be of good cheer, I've found a station that that plays all those great old tunes. This is more than a golden oldie station this station really is the music of your life, from all the artist who covered the Great American Songbook to those who found just the right note to get into your heart. From Dixieland jazz to swaying to the tunes of Chicago and New York, everything is here for everyone, your going to love let me know what you think on the comments.

Last Meal?

What if you knew that your last meal was the next one, what would you eat? Of course not many people have this insight, condemned prisoners do and many of them settle for the meal that had brought to them their most pleasant dining memory from hamburgers to steaks and everything in between. But what if your not a criminal at all what if in fact you’re a hero what do you want for a last meal, the answer is the same the most pleasant dining memory, take for example legendary hero Kit Carson, a man so was supposed to have killed two bears before breakfast, who has over 16 different places that bear his name, a true American hero, it is rumoured that his last words were "I wish I had time for just one more bowl of chili". Now give yourself over to some thought on these last words, who’s chili, perhaps his wife’s Josefa (Josephine). What was in the recipe that left a dying man longing for just one more bowl, we’ll never know but surely it had to be very good. Thus is the power of cuisine, wether simply fare like chili or that which may take a little for time to prepare food has the power to stay with one foe their entire life, this can only be a good thing. Dying people don’t remember a bad meal, just the one that gave the most blessed memory.
My friend Gail Riddall is reason the lesson, no she is not dying, but she is blind and it is amazing to me how she experiences her food. Whenever she would come to the restaurant she would order her meal from a menu which she could not see (I should have had it translated into braille) her husband (let’s call him Rick, for that’s his name) would read the menu item description to her giving her a mental picture of the meal. When it was presented to her she always commented "look at the presentation" allowing to visualize what the menu had entertained her with. One taste and she would define the colours upon the plate and no matter what she ordered she never once left disappointed, for in her mind and before she even arrived at the restaurant she had decided that this would be a dining experience worth remembering. We live in a world of food critics whose life work is to find fault with what they see and taste, how much better off we would be if we could be Rick and Gail’s food lovers. Here’s looking at you kid’s.

Almond Fried Shrimp
12 very large prawns
1 cup seasoned flour
pinch of salt
2 cups cold milk
4 eggs
1 ½ cups almonds
1 ½ quarts safflower oil

Peel, devein and butterfly the prawns, leaving tails intact. Line large baking sheet with waxed paper. Place flour in medium bowl; add salt. Whisk in the milk and eggs in large bowl. Dredge shrimp (not tails) in seasoned flour; shake off excess. Dip shrimp (not tails) in milk mixture. Press almonds over shrimp, coating all but tails. Place shrimp on prepared sheet. Curl tails up over shrimp. Freeze until firm, about 1 1/2 hours. (Can be prepared up to 1 day ahead. Cover with foil.) Heat oil in heavy large saucepan to 350~. Loosen shrimp from paper. Fry the frozen shrimp to oil in batches and cook until deep golden brown, about 3 minutes. Transfer to paper towels using slotted spoon. Let drain. Divide shrimp among plates. Serve with cocktail sauce, tartar sauce and lemon wedges


1 whole pork tenderloin, about 1 1/4 pounds
Freshly ground black pepper
2 teaspoons butter
1/2 cup minced onion
1/4 cup brandy
1/4 cup beef broth
1/4 cup dried cherries or cranberries
2 tablespoons Dijon-style mustard
1 teaspoon soy sauce
1/4 cup cherry preserves

Cut tenderloin crosswise into 8 medallions, about 3/4-inch thick. Season both sides of medallions generously with black pepper and set aside.Melt butter in large heavy skillet over medium-high heat; sauté onion until soft, about 2-3 minutes. Add medallions, brown on one side, about 3-4 minutesMeanwhile, in small bowl stir together brandy, broth, cherries, mustard and soy sauce. Turn medallions, add brandy mixture to skillet, bring to a boil, then lower heat to a simmer and cover. Cook undisturbed for 6 minutes. Uncover, stir in preserves and cook and stir until sauce is slightly thickened. Serve medallions with pan sauce.


2 Tablespoons Shallots -- chopped
2 Cups Mushrooms -- sliced
1 Cup Dark Rum
1 Cup Port Wine
1/4 cup Dijon Mustard
2 Cups Bechamel Sauce
3 Pounds Veal Cutlet (3 - 2 Oz Pieces Per Order)
1/4 cup Olive Oil -- as needed

Saute SHALLOTS & MUSHROOMS in butter.Reduce Rum, Port & Dijon by 1/2, then combine with Mushrooms & shallots Add BECHAMEL and check consistency.Saute Veal in Olive Oil, add sauce to pan and heat, serve at once


4 Boneless chicken breasts
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon Garlic (minced)
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1/4 cup Olive oil
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1/2 cup orange juice
Salt and pepper to taste

Combine marinade ingredients; season with salt and pepperAdd chicken breast. Refrigerate for 30 minutes to 1 hour. Remove from marinade and grill on a hot grill until cooked throughout.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Chili Vodka

Okay so New’s Years Eve dinner is now over and we get to move on into 2007, here at the restaurant, Riverbank Mill in Cambridge Ontario we served an interesting menu to our guests, some 400 plus people. One of the appetizers we created (Smoked salmon martini) consisted of a wasabi cream parfait topped with BC smoked wild salmon and laced with a chili pepper vodka. As the Ontario government runs all the liquor stores here we found we could not purchase the vodka, no worries, I made it. Simply take a bottle of good quality vodka, place within it 2 dried haberno (Scotch Bonnet) peppers and place in a dark place for 7 plus days. The result a firey hot beverage that can be used in many different ways, a few of which I give you now to lite up your new year.

Chili Vodka Chocolate Chili

1 1/2 pounds Ground beef
2 tbsp Vegetable oil
5 medium Onions -- chopped coarsely
3 stalks of celery chopped coarsely
2 large carrots chopped coarsely
8 cups Tomatoes peeled, seeded and chopped
½ cup Chili vodka
5 tablespoons Chili powder
3 tablespoons Cumin -- ground
3 tablespoons Oregano
3 tablespoons Cocoa powder -- unsweetened
3 tablespoons Cinnamon
2 tablespoons Garlic -- chopped fine
3 tablespoons Masa harina (fine ground cornmeal)

Cook meat about 20 minutes until they lose pink color but not browned. Place in bowl. Strain the fat and reserve 3 tbsp of it.

Heat oil in same pan and Saute vegetables until translucent. Stir meat into vegetables. Add the tomatoes, vodka, the chili powder, cumin, oregano, cocoa, cinnamon, and salt. Blend. Bring to boil, uncovered, for an hour.

In a small skillet heat the reserved beef fat add the cornmeal cook for 2 minutes. Stir into the chili with the garlic and simmer for 10 minutes more, serve at once with chili vodka cornbread.

Chili Vodka Halibut

4 steaks, 6 - 8 oz. each
1 1/2 cups chopped tomatoes
1/4 cup crumbled feta cheese
1/4 cup chopped green onions
1/4 cup chopped olives
3 tbsp Chili vodka
1 garlic clove, minced
1 tablespoon capers
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
black pepper, to taste


Place halibut steaks on well-oiled grill over hot coals. Grill 10 minutes per inch of thickness, measured at thickest part, or until fish just flakes when tested with a fork. Turn steaks once or twice during grilling. Combine remaining ingredients to make salsa; mix well. Serve with halibut.

Chili Vodka Mussels

2 tablespoons olive oil
2 cups thin sliced hot chorizo sausage
2 onions, thinly sliced
2 garlic cloves, finely minced
12 cups tomatoes peeled, seeded, chopped
1/4 cup chili vodka
6 ounces tomato paste
2 lemons, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons oregano
2 teaspoons dried basil
1/2 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper
2 cups red wine
80 mussels in shells, scrubbed, debearded

In a large kettle, sauté the sausage, onion and garlic in oil. Add tomatoes, vodka, tomato paste, lemon, oregano, basil and black and red pepper. Cover and simmer over low heat for 25 minutes. Add red wine and simmer uncovered 15 to 20 minutes until sauce thickens. Add mussels, cover and cook over medium-high heat 5 to 10 minutes until the mussels open, stirring occasionally. Discard any mussels that did not open. Ladle mussels and sauce into large soup bowls and serve with hot, crusty French bread.

Drunken Chicken

3 coarsely chopped tomatoes
1 coarsely chopped onion
5 cloves garlic
5 stalks coarsely chopped celery
5 coarsely chopped carrots
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon oregano
2 cups water
3 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons white flour
1 cup chili vodka
1 whole chicken


In a baking pan, place chopped onions with peels, garlic with peels, tomatoes, celery, carrots and water. Salt and pepper chicken; place on top of ingredients in baking pan and bake for 45 - 60 minutes in 375 F oven. After 20 minutes, baste with vodka. Baste every 1/2 hour. Melt butter in a sauce pan; add sifted flour until it makes a paste. Remove chicken from pan. Strain stock into a bowl. Discard used vegetables, re-heat stock and add to flour paste slowly until thick and creamy. Serve as a gravy over chicken.

Duck No I mean Duck

1 large duck
1 cup onions, minced
1/2 pound bacon, cut in small pieces
2 tablespoons celery heart, minced
3 tablespoons green bell peppers, minced
1/2 cup chili vodka
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 teaspoon basil
1 cup olives, pitted, split


Split the ducks, rinse and pat dry. In a large pan, brown the duck halves in oil, skin side down and turn and brown the other side. Pour off all but 2 tbs of drippings (the duck will render some extra fat) and add the onions, garlic and bacon. Cook slowly until the bacon is brown and pour off the extra fat again. Add the carrots, celery and bell pepper. Cook for a minute or two and add the stock, vodka, mustard, tomato, bay leaf, basil and thyme. Bring to a boil and reduce heat to a simmer. Cover and cook for 30 minutes and add the olives. Cover and cook very slowly until the duck is very tender (time depends on size of duck). Serve with wild rice.