Chef Time!

Chef Time!

Sunday, July 2, 2017

A New Sunday Dinner Tradition?

In most family traditions, Sunday dinners were always a special time for gathering and enjoying a delicious meal. In some instances, fried chicken, ham, or roast beef is usually served. But one of the most overlooked roasts is rarely served. I'm talking about the pork roast.
I myself prefer pork roast over beef, for it seems that the pork is much more moist and tender. But there may be many, that may argue against it. 

Garden of Eden Pork Roast

1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon grated orange peel
1/2 teaspoon grated lemon peel
1 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 (3 pound) boneless pork roast
1/2 cup fresh orange juice
1/2 cup apple juice
2 tablespoons Grand Marnier
1 (14 ounce) can chicken broth
1 Golden Delicious apple, cored and sliced
1 medium onion, sliced (1 cup)
1 tablespoon chopped jalapeño
1 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch
1/4 cup water

Preheat oven to 350.
Combine salt, orange peel, lemon peel, pepper and thyme in small mixing bowl. Rub mixture into skin of roast, pressing with force. Place the roast on a rack in a 9 X 12−inch roasting pan. Cook for 1 hour or until roast has reached an internal temperature of 145 degrees.
Pour off drippings. Add juices, grand Marnier, broth, apple, onion, and jalapeño to the roast in the pan. Bake for an additional 30 minutes or until roast has reached an internal temperature of 160 degrees.
Transfer meat to a serving platter. Combine cornstarch and water in a small bowl and mix well.

In a 4 quart saucepan, bring juices from roasting pan to a boil. Stir in cornstarch mixture and bring to a slow boil. Pour juices over meat and serve.

Friday, June 30, 2017

Best Ever Strawberry Cheesecake

Best Ever Strawberry Cheesecake

This cheesecake recipe has the tangy flavor of a New York–style cake and is topped with a chunky strawberry sauce made from fresh strawberries. It starts with a press-in crumb crust that’s filled with a batter made with cream cheese and a little lemon for a balance of sweet and tart. While the cake bakes—no need for a water bath—and then gradually cools to avoid cracks, make the strawberry sauce. When both are chilled, pour the sauce over the cheesecake and serve for birthdays, holidays, or any special occasion.

Special equipment: You’ll need a 9-inch springform pan for this recipe.

Game plan: The following baking method may seem time-consuming and (admittedly) strange, but it results in a smooth cheesecake without having to use a water bath. If time permits, make this cake a day in advance—it’s best after being refrigerated overnight.

For the cheesecake:

1 ¼ c. graham cracker or vanilla wafer cookie crumbs, such as Nabisco Nilla Wafers (about 5 ounces)
2 tbsp. unsalted butter ( ¼ stick), melted, plus more as needed
1 ¼ c. granulated sugar
1 tbsp. all-purpose flour
4 (8 oz.) packages cream cheese, at room temperature
1 tsp. finely grated lemon zest (from about 1 medium lemon)
1 tsp. vanilla
¼ c. heavy cream, at room temperature
1 large egg yolk, at room temperature
3 large eggs, at room temperature

For the strawberry topping:

1 ½ lb. strawberries, washed, hulled, and cut into large dice
1 c. granulated sugar
1 tsp. finely grated lemon zest (from about 1 medium lemon)
1 tbsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 tbsp. water, if needed
1 tbsp. cornstarch, if needed

Heat the oven to 325 and arrange a rack in the middle. Generously coat the bottom and sides of a 9 inch springform pan with butter. Place the wafer crumbs and melted butter in a medium bowl and mix until thoroughly combined. Pour the crumb mixture into the prepared pan and, using the bottom of a measuring cup, press evenly into the bottom and slightly up the sides.
Mix together the sugar and flour in a medium bowl and set aside. Place the cream cheese in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment and beat on medium speed until smooth, about 1 minute. With the mixer running, slowly pour in the sugar-flour mixture and beat until incorporated. Stop the mixer occasionally to scrape down the sides of the bowl and the paddle as needed.
With the mixer on low, add the lemon zest and vanilla and then slowly pour in the cream; mix until just combined. Add the egg yolk, then the whole eggs 1 at a time, allowing each egg to incorporate completely before adding the next. Stop the mixer occasionally to scrape down the sides of the bowl and the paddle as needed.
Pour the filling into the prepared crust and spread it into an even layer. Bake until just the edges of the cake are browned and the center is barely set, about 45 to 60 minutes. Turn off the oven and let the cake cool in the oven for 1 hour. (It will bake a little more as it sits in the hot oven.)
Remove the cheesecake from the oven and place it on a cooling rack. Place a baking sheet over the cheesecake and let it cool, carefully removing the baking sheet every 30 minutes to wipe away any condensation that has formed on the underside, until the springform pan is lukewarm to the touch, about 1 ½ hours total. Remove the baking sheet and refrigerate the cheesecake uncovered until it’s chilled, at least 4 hours. (The cheesecake can be kept in the refrigerator for up to 3 days, covered with plastic wrap once completely chilled.) Meanwhile, make the strawberry sauce.

For the strawberry topping:

Place the strawberries and sugar in a medium, nonreactive saucepan and stir until the berries are coated in sugar. Mash with a potato masher until about half of the strawberries are completely smashed but some medium-sized chunks remain, about 1 minute.
Place the pan over high heat and cook, stirring occasionally, until bubbles form along the pan’s edge, about 5 minutes. Skim any foam from the surface of the sauce with a spoon and discard. Add the lemon zest and juice, stir to combine, and bring to a full boil, cooking until foam coats the surface, about 2 minutes. Remove from the heat and skim and discard the foam.
If the sauce needs thickening, whisk the measured water and cornstarch in a small bowl until combined and no lumps remain. Return the pan to medium heat, bring the strawberry mixture to a boil, and add the cornstarch mixture a little bit at a time, whisking frequently, until the sauce has thickened to the desired consistency. Remove from the heat. Let the sauce cool to room temperature. Transfer to a container with a tightfitting lid and refrigerate until chilled or up to 3 days.

To assemble:

When ready to serve, run a knife around the inner edge of the cake pan. Unlock and remove the outer ring. Place the cheesecake on a serving dish, pour the strawberry sauce over the top, slice, and serve.

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Pork Belly From The South.

When I said from the south, I really mean from the south. South America that is. I've always enjoyed my travels in the past, and I always tried to bring back as many recipes that I can. 

Colombian-Style Fried Pork Belly (Chicharron Colombiano)

Food represents heritage and tradition for Colombians. I was lucky to grow up in a family who loves to cook and memories of cooking and eating together are in my mind and my heart.
Chicharrón or fried pork belly is a typical Colombian dish from the Andean region of Colombia and is one of the main components of the famous “Bandeja Paisa”. If you are counting calories, I wouldn’t eat Chicharrón every day, but if you make a Bandeja paisa you have to include it. You can find pork bellies in the United States in Latin or Asian supermarkets.

1 ½ pounds pork belly with meat, washed and cut into 4 pieces
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
2 cups water

Place the pork belly pieces, skin side down on a work surface and then make 1 ½ inch crosswise cuts on each piece, being careful not to cut through the skin.
Rub the pork belly strips with baking soda and place in a medium saucepan. Add the water and salt. Cook over medium-low heat until the water evaporates.

When all the water is evaporated increase the heat to medium and cook the chicharrons for about 15 to 20 minutes or until they are golden and crispy.

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Pass the Bread Please

Here's a delicious way of combining a snack, into a meal. This bread can be use as a party snack, an appetizer or with some marinara sauce for dipping, a delicious light meal.

Pepperoni Bread

1 (1 lb.) loaf frozen bread dough, thawed
1 egg, beaten
4 oz. sliced pepperoni sausage
½ c. shredded mozzarella cheese
½ c. shredded cheddar cheese
¼ c. grated Parmesan cheese
1 ½ tsp. Italian seasoning

Preheat oven to 375. Lightly grease a baking sheet.
Roll frozen bread dough out into a rectangle. Brush dough with beaten egg. Arrange pepperoni, mozzarella cheese and parmesan cheese over the dough. Sprinkle on the Italian seasoning. Roll up dough like a jelly roll and pinch seam to seal; place, seam side down, on prepared baking sheet.

Bake in preheated oven for 40 minutes, or until golden.

Monday, June 26, 2017

Not Just Any Fried Chicken!

I know, I know. I've heard it many times before, fried chicken is just fried chicken. But, I'm here to that it isn't. Korea never was into fried chicken, until the American businesses made their debut on the peninsula and introduced fast food in 2006.
Now I've done a lot of fried chicken and I have to tell you that the technique that I'm about to tell you will change your view. Trust me.

Korean Fried Chicken

Whenever I fry food, I typically try to stay true to some of the basic batter ingredients. Whether that is a standard dredge when making a Wisconsin beer battered fish fry, or even frying chicken for a Sunday dinner. There are, however, plenty of times when I experiment with creating a really crunchy exterior while maintaining a succulent interior. Sometimes that is not easy. This was not one of those times. This fried chicken was a homerun, and everyone really loved the fried chicken.
If you have never had Korean style fried chicken, it’s a must . Not only do you get a great crunchy exterior, but you get some really great flavors embedded in the chicken from the marinade, and a nice sauce that is glazed on the exterior. In a nutshell, it’s pretty awesome.

Ingredients for the marinade:
8 chicken thighs, boneless, skinless, cut into chunks
4 chicken drumsticks, skinless
1 medium onion, grated
4 cloves of garlic, minced
1 tsp. salt
½ tsp. cracked black pepper

Ingredients for the batter:
½ c. flour
¾ c. cornstarch
½ tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. salt
½ tsp. cracked black pepper
1 tsp. sugar
1 c. ice cold water

Ingredients for the sauce:
6 tbsp. ketchup
1 tbsp. chili flakes
2 tbsp. honey
1 pinch of salt
½ tsp. black pepper
1 lemon, juiced
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 green onion, chopped
Kimchi, optional

Sounds like a lot, but it’s not.  Start by getting your marinade together. When grating the onion, you will get some of the moisture from the onion, which will help marinate the chicken. Place everything in a sealable plastic bag, give a good mix, and let marinate for at least 4 hours, if not, overnight.
You can make the sauce ahead of time if you want. Add everything to a saucepan and cook on medium low heat for about 15 minutes, stirring along the way. Remove from the heat, let cool.
When you are about ready to fry the chicken, take the chicken out of the refrigerator, and let it come to room temperature. You can do this while bringing some oil in a pot up to temperature. Add enough canola oil in a pot, about 3 inches deep. Bring this up to 350. This will take about 20 minutes to heat up, depending on your stove.
Make your batter. Mix your everything but the ice cold water in a mixing bowl. Slowly begin powering in the water, and whisking along the way. You will basically end up with a fairly thick batter. Just make sure it is nice a smooth and no lumps remain.
When the oil is heated, pour off any access liquid from the marinade into the sink and discard. Take a few pieces of the chicken out, and dip them into the batter, making sure to thoroughly coat each piece. Gently lay them into the oil, slowly, then let them submerge. Cook these for about 8 minutes, or until a nice golden 

Sunday, May 7, 2017

Basic British Scones

Back in 1981, I had the opportunity to travel to London.
I have been given the privilege, to meet some of the up and coming chefs. It was there, that I met a young chef, fresh out of culinary training and getting his baptismal of the culinary world. Gordon Ramsey.
I also was able to observe and learn many of the traditional techniques of classic British Culinary.
So it brings me to share with you, one of the famous classics from London. Scones!

scone is a single serving quick bread/cake, usually made of A scone is a single-serving quick bread/cake, usually made of wheat, barley or oatmeal with baking powder as a leavening agent and baked on sheet pans. A scone is often lightly sweetened and occasionally glazed with egg wash. The scone is a basic component of the cream tea or Devonshire tea. It differs from teacakes and other sweet buns that are made with yeast.A scone is a single-serving quick bread/cake, usually made of wheat, barley or oatmeal with baking powder as a leavening agent and baked on sheet pans. A scone is often lightly sweetened and occasionally glazed with egg wash. The scone is a basic component of the cream tea or Devonshire tea. It differs from teacakes and other sweet buns that are made with yeast.or oatmeal with baking powder as a leavening agent and baked on sheet pans. A scone is often lightly sweetened and occasionally glazed with egg wash. The scone is a basic component of the cream tea or Devonshire tea. It differs from teacakes and other sweet buns that are made with yeast.


2 c. flour
1 tsp. cream of tartar
½ tsp. baking soda
1 pinch salt
¼ c. margarine
1/8 c. white sugar
½ c. milk
2 tbsp. milk

Preheat oven to 425. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Sift the flour, cream of tartar, baking soda and salt into a bowl. Rub in the butter until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. Stir in the sugar and enough milk to mix to a soft dough.
Turn onto a floured surface, knead lightly and roll out to a ¾ inch thickness. Cut into 2 inch rounds and place on the prepared baking sheet. Brush with milk to glaze.

Bake for 10 minutes then cool on a wire rack. Serve with butter or clotted cream and jam.

Saturday, May 6, 2017

It's Been Awhile, But I'm Back

It has been awhile since I last posted any cooking posts. But with renewed energy and better health, I'm back to writing again.
Keep checking here for new blogs, recipes and of course pictures. But there will be a new twist to this blog. But that will be revealed as the new postings begins.