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Sunday, October 04, 2009

Thanksgiving 2009

The family is coming but this year everyone is in a hurry, one family this morning, off to another’s this afternoon and then yet a third person to visit tonight. Time is of the essence, and essences are needful for all that baking. So why do it, save a turkeys life and go ahead and break the traditions. Keep the family coming but this time make a batch of appetizers along with a nice bowl of warming soup, spread them throughout the visiting rooms and enjoy everyone’s company. What good is it having the friends and family visiting when your locked away in the kitchen. Let the turkey live until Christmas at least and go for the hors d oeuvres.

Kickin Artichoke Dip

14 ounces of canned artichoke hearts
2 tbsp Habanero Hot Sauce (try Chef K’s Ogopogo’s Breath)
1 C mayonnaise
1 C Tillamook Cheddar cheese
1 C softened Philadelphia cream cheese
1/4 C diced green bell pepper
2 tbsp diced Vidalia onion
1 minced garlic clove
1 C real fresh grated Parmesan cheese
1 tsp Salt
1 tsp ground black pepper
1/2 tsp onion powder
2 tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Preparing this warm artichoke dip is quite simple. To begin you will want to preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit, or 175 degrees Celsius. While your oven is heating, take out a food processor, and plug it in. I use a Braun Food Processor, and it's absolutely awesome. Add into your food processor all the artichoke hearts, Habanero hot sauce, the mayonnaise, cheddar cheese, cream cheese, bell pepper, Vidalia onion, garlic clove, parmesan cheese, salt, black pepper, and onion powder. Once all of these tasty ingredients are in the food processor, pulse it a few times until the dip has a desired consistency and thickness. Both chunky and creamy artichoke dips are very good, so you are free to choose here how you want it. Next take out a large casserole dish, and grease it with extra virgin olive oil. Next spoon into the casserole dish the artichoke dip, making sure you scrape the sides of the food processor, so that you do not waste any of this wonderful dip. Once your dip is in the baking dish, slide it into the oven to bake for about twenty minutes, or until the cheese starts to bubble a little. Once done, let the dip cool off for about ten minutes before serving.

Pear, Prosciutto, Walnuts and Cherve Wraps

2 packages Cherve cheese
½ cup crushed walnuts
1/3 pound thinly sliced prosciutto, cut in long, narrow strips
6 ripe pears, washed, cored and sliced
1/2-inch thick (to prevent browning, gently turn pear slices in a bowl with juice of 1/2 of lemon)
60 arugula leaves

Mix the cheese with the walnuts. Place one slice of prosciutto on work surface. Top with pear slice, small dollop of cheese and arugula leaf. Wrap prosciutto around until secure.

Savoury Spring Rolls

1 medium carrot julienned
6 - 8 scallions julienned
2 medium cloves of garlic crushed
1/2 Lb. button mushrooms chopped
3/4 Lb. spinach stemmed and broken up
10 oz. cooked salmon
12 - 15 medium to large shrimp peeled, deveined, and chopped
2 Tbsp. Chinese cooking wine or dry sherry
2 Tbsp. dark Soy Sauce
1 tbsp Nam Plam (Thai fish sauce)
1 tsp Chinese five spice
1 tsp salt
2 tsp sugar
1 Lb. package of Spring roll wrappers
¼ lb rice vermicelli cooked
1 - 2 C vegetable oil (for deep frying)

Filling Preparation:

In a fairly large sauce pan or fry pan, sauté garlic, scallions, and carrot in a little oil until vegetables are limp. Add wine, soy sauce, spinach, seafood and mushrooms and stir fry, while breaking up the salmon into small pieces. Be careful not to overcook. Shrimp should turn pink and mushrooms and spinach should have rendered their liquid and gone soft. Stir in the seasonings. Let this mixture cool before making the rolls.

Stuffing and Frying:

Lay out a sheet of wax paper for a work area, and have within reach a saucer with a little water. Place a well rounded teaspoon of filling in the lower third of each wrapper. Place small amount of the vermicelli on. Then fold the two sides part way over the mixture. Wet your finger in the saucer and use it to moisten the top end of the wrapper. Roll it up and seal it.

For frying, put enough oil in the pan to just cover the rolls. Fry for 3-5 minutes each until golden brown. You can fry maybe 5-8 at a time depending on the size of the pan but don‘t crowd the pan. Turn each occasionally to check doneness and color. Drain on paper towels.

Dipping Sauce:

2 tbsp. Dijon mustard
1 tsp. honey
1 tbsp
2 tbsp. dark soy sauce
1 tsp Nam Plam
¼ tsp red chilli flakes

Blend all together in a small mixing bowl.

Pumpkin Soup with Saffron and Black Beans

3 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1 (medium-sized) brown onion – peeled and roughly chopped
3 cloves garlic
1 leek – sliced
1 tbsp fresh thyme
½ cup flat-leaf parsley including stalks
2 1/2 lbs pumpkin – peeled, deseeded and cubed
2 tomatoes – peeled and deseeded
1 litre vegetable or chicken stock (I prefer chicken)
½ cup cream
Salt and white pepper to taste
½ cup black beans – canned , rinsed and heated gently
½ tsp saffron
½ cup crème fraiche

Heat oil in a heavy-based saucepan, add onion, garlic, leek, thyme and parsley and stir occasionally over medium heat for 5-7 minutes or until mixture has softened. Add pumpkin and stir to coat in olive oil, then add tomato, stock and simmer over medium heat for 30-40 minutes or until vegetables are tender. Using a blender, blend the soup until smooth, then return to the saucepan. Season to taste with salt and stir in cream. Simmer five additional minutes.

Ladle the soup into bowls, sprinkle with the black beans, place a dollop of crème fraiche and sprinkle of saffron sty’s.

Have a great Thanksgiving.

Sunday, February 01, 2009

Filling Your Superbowl

Every year the biggest sports party in North America comes our way and every year it is a scramble to see what we can make that will wow our guests, stay within our budget and not take too much time from us the enjoy the people and the game.

Just a few tips to follow and you'll be sure to have one of the best social events of your winter.

Keep it fresh, as with any meal fresh is better, and fresh is not always more expensive. usually when fresh foods are prepared less goes further. Flavors are more intense, and of the quality is just that much higher.

Make good use of comfort foods, the game is a casual laid back event. Why mess it up with dishes that are fussy or difficult to prepare. Everyone is their comfort zone why not feed they with food that will keep them there. Make good use of food that requires little attention after it's been prepared, food that will go quickly but that can be replenished if need be just as quickly. Comfort food is not only for the guest but also for the host to serve.

Prepare the table close to the action but not within arms length. Guest tend to over eat when they can just reach out and grasp what they see, if the actually have to rise and go get the food, they will consume less which maybe a good thing for both themselves and your budget.

For straight up snaking foods, use fresh crudity and healthy dips instead of a lot of salty finger foods. Salt will cause your guest to drink more and thus create possible problems of consuming more beverage than which they should or is lawful, (your party, your responsibility.)

Offer a little something for everybody and every buddy, keep in mind taste is individual and therefore as at any party we must attempt to please as many tastes as possible. Dried fruits and nuts many please some people but hardly will satisfy everyones appetite. Variety is the spice of life, use that spice to spice up your gathering and the result will be a happy and safe event.

Here are just a few easily prepared dishes that work well at any mid winter event, enjoy.

Chicken Tequila Fettucini

1 pound dry spinach Fettucini
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
2 tablespoons minced fresh garlic
2 tablespoons minced jalapeño pepper
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 cup chicken stock
2 tablespoons gold tequila
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice
3 tablespoons soy sauce
1 1/4 pounds chicken breast, diced 3/4 inch
1/4 medium red onion, thinly sliced
1/2 medium red bell pepper, thinly sliced
1/2 medium yellow bell pepper, thinly sliced
1/2 medium green bell pepper, thinly sliced
1 1/2 cups heavy cream

Prepare rapidly boiling, salted water to cook pasta; cook until al dente, 8 to 10 minutes. Toss with a little oil and set aside.

Cook 1/3 cup cilantro, garlic and jalapeño in 2 tablespoons butter over medium heat for 4 to 5 minutes. Add stock, tequila,and lime juice. Bring the mixture to a boil and cook until reduced to a paste like consistency; set aside.

Pour soy sauce over diced chicken; set aside for 5 minutes. Meanwhile cook onion and peppers,stirring occasionally, with remaining butter over medium heat for 3-4 minutes. Add chicken and soy sauce; toss and add reserved tequila/lime paste and cream.

Bring the sauce to a boil; boil gently until chicken is cooked through and sauce is thick (about 3 minutes). When sauce is done, toss with well-drained spinach Fettucini and remaining cilantro.

Broccoli Bites

3 eggs
6oz. shredded Monterey jack cheese
6 oz. shredded Colby cheese
1 lb broccoli and blanched
2 1/2 oz. bacon pieces
1/2 oz. diced yellow onion
1 oz. all purpose flour
Italian bread crumbs as needed

Beat eggs in a mixing bowl with a whisk until well blended. Place all the ingredients into a plastic container, except the bread crumbs. Stir together with a spatula until thoroughly combined. Refrigerate mixture for about 1 hour. This will help to bind the mix making preparation much easier.

Heat about 4 cups oil in a fryer or deep pan for frying at 350F. Set up a shallow pan with bread crumbs. Scoop about 1/2 oz. portion of the broccoli mixture into the bread crumbs. Form each portion into a ball and coat it well. Place broccoli bites into the fry basket or frying pan. Make sure they do not stick together. Fry for one minute, then remove and place onto a plate lined with
paper towels to absorb excess oil.

Serve with:
Honey Mustard Dressing

3/4 cup sour cream
1/3 cup mayonnaise
1/3 cup Dijon mustard
1/3 cup honey
1Tbsp. + 1 tsp. lemon juice

In a mixing bowl, combine sour cream, mayonnaise and mustard. Blend thoroughly using a whisk. Slowly pour in the honey and lemon juice, continue mixing until smooth and well combined.

Chocolate Chip Cookies

1/2 cup Butter, room temperature
1/4 cup Granulated sugar
1/3 cup Brown sugar
1 Large egg
1/2 teas Vanilla extract
1 cup (+ 2 teas) All Purpose Flour
1/2 teas Salt
1/2 teas Baking Soda
1 cup Semisweet Chocolate Chips
1/2 cup Coarsely Chopped Walnuts

Preheat the oven to 350F.

Beat the butter and both sugars in a large mixing bowl until light and fluffy. Add the egg and vanilla extract and mix well.

Mix the flour, salt, and baking soda in another bowl. Add the dry ingredients to the batter and mix until well blended. Stir in the chocolate chips and walnuts.

Drop the dough by small scoops 2 to 3 inches apart on an ungreased cookie sheet. Flatten each scoop with the back of a spoon to about 3 inches in diameter.

Bake until the centers are still slightly soft to the touch, 11 to 14 minutes. Let cool on the cookie sheet for 5 minutes, then transfer to racks to cool completely 12 to 15 cookies.

Parmesan Mustard Chicken Wings

1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter
2 tablespoons Dijon-style mustard
1/8 teaspoon cayenne
1 cup dried bread crumbs
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan
1 teaspoon ground cumin
20 chicken wings, wing tips cut off and discarded and the wings halved at the joint

In a shallow dish whisk together the butter, the mustard, and the cayenne. In another shallow dish combine well the bread crumbs, the Parmesan, the cumin, and salt and black pepper to taste.

Dip the chicken wings, a few at a time, in the butter mixture, letting the excess drip off, coat them with the crumb mixture, and arrange them without touching in a greased shallow baking pan. Bake the chicken wings in the lower third of a preheated 425F oven for 30 minutes.

Beef Picadillo Chili

2 large onions, chopped
6 garlic cloves, minced
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1/3 cup chili powder
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
4 pounds boneless beef chuck, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1 1/2 cups water
12 oz. beer
2 cups beef broth
1 (28-ounce) can tomatoes including the juice, pureed coarse
1 teaspoon salt, or to taste
3/4 cup raisins
1/2 cup pimiento-stuffed green olives, sliced
1 jalapeño pepper, or to taste, seeded and minced
1 (19-ounce) can (about 2 cups) kidney beans, rinsed and drained
1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro

In a large heavy kettle cook the onions and the garlic in the oil over moderate heat, stirring, until the onions are softened. Add the chili powder, cumin, cayenne, and the cinnamon, and cook the mixture, stirring, for 30 seconds.

Add the beef, water, beer, broth, tomato puree, and the salt and simmer the mixture, uncovered, adding more water if necessary to keep the beef barely covered, for 1 1/2 hours. Add the raisins, olives, and the jalapeño and simmer the mixture, stirring occasionally, for 30 minutes, or until the beef is tender. Stir in the beans, simmer the chili for 5 minutes, or until the beans are heated through, and stir in the coriander.

Garden Veggie Pizza Squares

1 (8 ounce) package refrigerated crescent rolls
1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
1 (1 ounce) package Ranch-style dressing mix
2 carrots, finely chopped
1/2 cup chopped red bell peppers
1/2 cup chopped green bell pepper
1/2 cup fresh broccoli, chopped
1/2 cup chopped green onions

Preheat oven to 375F. Roll out crescent rolls onto a large non-stick baking sheet. Stretch and flatten to form a single rectangular shape on the baking sheet. Bake 11 to 13 minutes in the preheated oven, or until golden brown. Allow to cool.

Place cream cheese in a medium bowl. Mix cream cheese with 1/2 of the ranch dressing mix. Adjust the amount of dressing mix to taste. Spread the mixture over the cooled crust. Arrange carrots, red bell pepper, broccoli and green onions on top. Chill in the refrigerator approximately 1 hour. Cut into bite-size squares to serve.

Oreo Cheesecake

1 1/2 cup Oreo cookie crumbs (about 23 Oreo cookies chopped fine)
2 tablespoons melted butter
9" Spring Form Pan (buttered on bottom and sides)

1 1/2 lb. cream cheese
1 cup sugar
5 large eggs
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons vanilla
1/4 cup flour
8 oz. sour cream
5 Oreo cookies (coarsely chopped for the batter)
10 coarsely chopped Oreo cookies for the top of cheese cake

Crust: Mix melted butter with Oreo crumbs and press in spring pan. Cover the bottom and 1 1/2" up the sides with crumbs, set aside.

Filling: All Ingredients need to be at room temperature before beginning. Beat cream cheese until light and fluffy. Keep mixer on a low setting during the mixing and beating process. Add sugar gradually and continue beating cream cheese until mixed through. Add eggs one at a time and continue to beat until blended. Measure the vanilla, salt and flour, pour into cream cheese and egg mixture and
beat until smooth. Add the sour cream and beat well. Turn off the mixer and stir in the coarsely chopped Oreo cookies with a spoon.

Pour cream cheese into the spring pan and place the nine coarsely chopped Oreo Cookies on top of the cream mixture. Place pan on the top rack and in the middle of a preheated oven at 325F and bake for one hour and 15 minutes. When time is up, prop the oven door open and let the cheese cake stay in the oven for one hour. Remove from oven and let cool enough to place in the refrigerator for 24 hours. It is worth the anticipation.

Be sure to see a different side of Chef K @

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Great Recipe for Every Day


This was sent to me a good friend, Gary West, I have no idea where he got it but what a recipe to live day by day.

1. Take a 10-30 minute walk every day.
And while you walk, smile.
It is the ultimate anti-depressant.

2. Sit in silence for at least 10 minutes each day.
Talk to God (whoever or whatever that may mean to you) about what is going on in your life.
Buy a lock if you have to.

3. When you wake up in the morning complete the following statement,
'My purpose is to __________ today. I am thankful for______________'

4. Eat more foods that grow on trees and plants and eat less food that is
manufactured in plants.

5. Drink green tea and plenty of water.
Eat blueberries, wild Alaskan salmon, broccoli , almonds & walnuts.

6. Try to make at least three people smile each day.

7. Don't waste your precious energy on gossip, energy vampires,
issues of the past, negative thoughts or things you cannot control.
Instead invest your energy in the positive present moment.

8. Eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince and dinner like a college kid
with a maxed out charge card.

9. Life isn't fair, but it's still good.

10. Life is too short to waste time hating anyone.

11. Don't take yourself so seriously. No one else does.

12. You are not so important that you have to win every argument.
Agree to disagree.

13. Make peace with your past so it won't spoil the present.

14. Don't compare your life to others.
You have no idea what their journey is all about.

15. No one is in charge of your happiness ...... except you.

16. Frame every so-called disaster with these words:
'In five years, will this matter?'

17. Forgive everyone for everything.

18. What other people think of you is none of your business.

19. GOD heals everything - but you have to ask Him.

20. However good or bad a situation is, it will change.

21. Your job won't take care of you when you are in need.
Your friends will.
Stay in touch!!!

22. Envy is a waste of time. You already have all you need.

23. Each night before you go to bed complete the following statements:
I am thankful for __________. Today I accomplished _________.

24. Remember that you are too blessed to be stressed.

25. When you are feeling down, start listing your many blessings.
You'll be smiling before you know it.

26. Send this to everyone you care about.

A smile is the same in every language......

Thursday, January 01, 2009

Happy New Year 2009

A new year means new commitments to family , self, friends and employers. This year may be a hard one for many due to present economic times, it becomes more important to keep everyone close at hand.

For today feed all those friends a family well and enjoy a great day and year with them.

Beef with Tomato and Red Wine Sauce

6 pounds sirloin tip or steamship round roast
3 cups dry red wine
1 cup water
2 cups carrots, sliced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 large onions, sliced
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon thyme
1/4 cup chopped parsley
2 bay leaves
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 cup plain tomato sauce
3 tablespoons cornstarch
1/4 cup water

Put the roast in a large bowl. Combine the next 10 ingredients and
pour over the meat. Cover tightly, refrigerate, and let marinate
overnight or up to 2 days, turning several times.

Preheat oven to 325F. Remove meat from the marinade and wipe with
paper towels, reserving marinade. Heat the oil in a heavy ovenproof
pot or Dutch oven and brown the meat on all sides.

Discard any excess fat from pan. Pour the reserved marinade, beef
broth and tomato sauce over the meat. Cover and braise at 325F for
2-3 hours or until meat is tender or desired doneness. Remove meat
from pan to platter or cutting board and keep warm. Strain juices,
reserving the carrots and onions. Mash the soft vegetables and return
to pan.

Mix the cornstarch with the water and stir into juices and mashed
vegetables over medium heat until thickened. Taste and correct
seasoning as needed with salt and pepper. To serve, slice the meat
and pour sauce over it. Pass extra sauce separately at the table.

San Remo Seafood Dip

1 (6 oz.) can tiny shrimp (drain, reserve liquid)
1 (6 oz.) can crab meat (drain, reserve liquid)
2 oz. cream cheese, cubed
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon crushed garlic
1 teaspoon horseradish
1/3 cup asiago cheese
2 tablespoons grated parmesan cheese
3/4 cup half and half
1 1/2 cups Barilla marinara sauce (remove excess liquid)
1/4 cup parmesan cheese (for topping)
Breadsticks bought at the store

On medium-low, heat olive oil and flour in 2 quart saucepan. Add
liquids from canned seafoods. Add cubed cream cheese, salt, garlic
and horseradish. Stir till smooth. Add asiago and 2 tablespoons
parmesan cheese. Stir until smooth. Add seafood; blend well. Simmer
until heated.

Add half and half a little at a time to seafood sauce. It will
resemble a pudding. Simmer 12-15 minutes. Stir frequently, don't

In a shallow baking dish, spray with a non-stick spray. Line the
bottom of the dish with the marinara. Place seafood mixture on top of
the marinara. Sprinkle with 1/4 cup parmesan cheese.

Bake at 325F for 10-15 minutes. Do not brown. Let cool for a few
minutes before serving.

Breadsticks: Follow the instructions on the package for baking time
and temp. Before you put them in the oven, brush with olive oil and
sprinkle with parm cheese. Wrap in tin foil. When they're done, cut
them on a diagonal into dipping size pieces.

Sausage and Bell Pepper Ziti

8 ounces ziti or other tubular pasta
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 Italian sausages (about 6 ounces), casings removed
2 cups chopped onions
1 1/2 red bell peppers, thinly sliced
1/2 cup dry red wine
1 (14 1/2-ounce) can diced tomatoes in juice with Italian
Freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Cook pasta in large pot of boiling salted water until just tender
but still firm to bite, stirring occasionally. Drain. Return to pot.

Meanwhile, heat oil in heavy medium skillet over medium-high heat.
Add sausage; saute until brown, breaking up with fork, about 4
minutes. Add onions and peppers; saute 5 minutes. Stir in wine; boil
2 minutes, scraping up browned bits. Add tomatoes with juices. Reduce
heat to medium and cover; simmer until slightly thickened, about 4

Add sauce to pasta. Toss over medium heat until heated through.
Season with salt and pepper. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and serve.

Eggnog Cookies

2 1/2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1 1/4 cups sugar
3/4 cup butter
1/2 cup eggnog
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 egg yolks
1 tablespoon nutmeg

Preheat oven to 300F. In a medium bowl combine flour, baking
powder, cinnamon and nutmeg. mix well with a wire whisk and
set aside.

In a large bowl, cream sugar and butter with an electric mixer
to form a grainy paste. Add eggnog, vanilla and egg yolks and beat
at medium speed until smooth. Add the dry ingredients and beat
at low speed just until combined. Do not overmix.

Drop by rounded teaspoons onto ungreased baking sheets, 1" apart.
Sprinkle lightly with nutmeg. Bake for 23-25 minutes or until
bottoms turn light brown. Transfer to cool, flat surface
immediately with spatula.