Archive for March, 2015
March 26, 2015
14330 North Dale Mabry Hwy
John Rivers named his smokehouse 4 Rivers because there are 4 of them in his family – his wife Monica, son Jared, and daughter Cameron. If you want some tasty barbecue you better head on over to 4 Rivers now…right now.
Somehow, I just heard about this place, and as soon as I did, well it was only a matter of hours before I headed to north Tampa. As a south Tampa native – well, you know, we don’t cross Kennedy too often for something to eat, unless there is reason. 4 Rivers is a good reason to venture forth.
The décor is kinda neat – with loads of communal tables (and steel chairs) so you can opt to chat with a new friend if you so desire. Before you can get to your seat however, you must pass the bakery with all kinds of baked treats.
My favorite 4 Rivers baked goody is the Bayou – it reminds me of the OOEY-GOOEY’s Denise Chavez use to make at her place on Howard…made with cream cheese and a wonderful walnut crust. I’m munching on one now.
If you are a brisket fan – it is sliced perfectly, fork tender packed with flavor. The sausage, ribs, chicken, pulled pork are all awesome. The sauce is sweet and served mild or hot. There are plenty of sides to pick from: mac & cheese, green beans, crinkle-cut French fries, baked beans, jalapeno bites stuffed with cream cheese, wrapped in bacon and baked, slaw, sweet potato mash…just to name a few. Their huge biscuits and corn bread deserve an honorable mention as well.
Have I made you hungry??? Let me know your experience on 4 Rivers Smokehouse.
March 26, 2015
Twice baked potatoes are more than mashed potatoes stuffed in a potato shell – with the right additions, they can be the ultimate accompaniment to just about any dish, especially steak, prime rib, pork loin, even a baked salmon or grilled sword fish.
If you use one of the variations we suggest below, it would be a perfect main course served with a lightly dressed (1 part fresh lemon, 2 parts extra virgin olive oil, salt & pepper) mixed field green salad, and a glass of chilled chardonnay.
- 2 ½ pounds russet potatoes (medium sized potatoes)
- ½ cup room temperature half & half
- 6 tablespoons salted butter (very soft) – plus 1 tablespoon melted for the skins
- 3 tablespoons Marscapone cheese (first choice), or crème fraiche, or sour cream
- 2 tablespoons chopped chives
- 3 tablespoons freshly grated Manchego cheese (first choice), or parmesan cheese, or Asiago cheese (packed firmly)
- 1 teaspoon Kosher salt for the potato pulp, plus extra for the skins
- ½ teaspoon freshly cracked pepper, plus extra for the skins
- 1 ½ teaspoons “micro-shaved” jalapeno peppers (optional)
- ½ cup grated extra sharp Cheddar cheese firmly packed for the tops of the potato
VARIATIONS TO ADD TO THE POTATO MIXTURE
#1: Oven roasted asparagus (or any of the following – Brussels sprouts, yellow squash, eggplant) – toss asparagus with extra virgin olive oil, salt and pepper and roast in a 450 degree oven for exactly 5 minutes. Chop in one inch bites and toss in potato mixture
#2: Toss shrimp or lobster with your favorite Cajun seasoning, pan sear in a bit of olive oil in a hot sauté pan. Chop into bite-size pieces and put into potato mixture
#3 Crisp pancetta (or Applewood smoked bacon) in the oven or on top of the stove and toss in potato mixture with 1 tablespoon of the drippings (omit 1 tablespoon of the soft butter for the pancetta drippings)
Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees
Bake potatoes on a baking sheet or directly on the middle rack for approximately 90 minutes or until they are done…tested with a fork…should be soft to the touch.
Remove from the oven and let cool for 15 minutes. Cut tops off the potatoes (a little less than half way through – leaving most of the potato – scoop into a mixing bowl leaving about ¼ inch of the potato next to the skin
Season the potato skins with melted butter, salt and pepper
Add the remaining ingredients (except for the Cheddar cheese) in the warm potato mixture and mash with a potato masher. Fill the seasoned potato skins with the potato mixture and top with the shredded cheddar cheese. Place potatoes on a baking sheet and bake for 10 minutes on the middle rack. Place the potatoes on the highest rack and broil until the tops are bubbly brown
March 19, 2015
In the 80’s, American screenwriter and humorist Bruce Feirstein wrote the tongue-in-cheek book “Real Men Don’t Eat Quiche,” which appeared on the New York Times best seller list for over 50 weeks. It actually created quite the stir around the country.
It was about this time that I made my first quiche…actually using New York Times food critic Craig Claiborne’s recipe for my first ever quiche. I have seen, and made, many quiche recipes since, and have tinkered around enough to make my favorite. As I’ve said many times, recipes are guides for your own creations.
Most people, including Craig Claiborne, put the cheese and filling on the bottom of the pie crust and pour the egg and cream mixture on top, creating a custard-like top with the main ingredients on the bottom. I am not a fan. So my recipe calls for you to combine all your ingredients allowing you to taste all them in every bite – keeping the same texture throughout.
Quiches can be made any way your lil’ ole heat desires. Eliminate the meat and add oven roasted vegetables like asparagus, Brussels sprouts, or even artichokes. You are the creator.
Served with a salad, quiche is perfect for any luncheon, and can be served for breakfast or even dinner.
Quiche Lorraine Recipe for a 10” or 9.5” Pie Shell
- 4 eggs lightly beaten
- 3 cups heavy cream
- ½ cup buttered sautéed onions
- 6 strips crispy bacon or ¾ cup diced ham (like Honey Baked or a good deli ham thick sliced so you can dice into chunks)
- 2 cups grated gruyere cheese
- ¼ grated parmesan cheese
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon fresh cracked pepper
- ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
Pre-heat oven to 450 degrees
Make butter pie crust for a 10” pie shell – or use your favorite store bought pie crust
Sauté raw onions in 2 tablespoons butter until they are translucent, but not brown. Oven-bake or fry on top of the stove bacon until crisp, or if you are using ham, dice into small ¼” pieces
In a large mixing bowl add eggs and beat lightly with a whisk, add cream and whisk until well blended, add the remaining ingredients and stir until mixture is thoroughly combined
Put mixture into pie shell
Bake on the bottom shelf in a pre-heated 450 degree oven for 10 minutes. After 10 minutes, put quiche on middle rack and turn heat down to 350 degrees and bake for another 45 minutes – or until a knife inserted into the center comes out clean.
If it looks like the top is browning too quickly, place a piece of aluminum foil over the top lightly about mid-way through.
When done – place on rack and let cool for at least 20 to 30 minutes.
March 19, 2015
Sa Ri One
3940 West Cypress Street (between Dale Mabry and Lois near I-275)
Tampa, Florida 33607
Phone: (813) 874-2911
You can’t find a better deal for lunch anywhere in the city. This is a non-descript, hole-in-the-wall, nothing fancy, restaurant with plenty of good food. For a mere $9.95 you receive a black and red bento lunch-box filled with: Bul Go Ki Pork (which is what I always order), or Chicken, or Beef, white rice, iceberg lettuce with peanut sauce, dumplings, and egg fritters – all served with bowls of kimchi, tofu soup, bean sprouts, and spiced-cucumbers. I always order a side of their white radishes marinated in sweet vinaigrette. I have only dined for lunch and you best arrive by 11:45 if you want to sit in their front dining room…not a fan of their back rooms. They only offer the lunch-box specials, including beverage, on Monday through Friday, from 11:30 to 2:00pm.
March 12, 2015
When you sit down at Bailey’s Brunch you will be greeted with my Aunt Hilda’s complementary bite-size fresh homemade blueberry muffins to tantalize your palate for the wonderful brunch to come.
We were excited to be asked to serve-up Bailey’s Brunch at Carmel in South Tampa…3601 West Swann Avenue (corner of Henderson and Swann) every Saturday from 9:00am to 2:00pm, and Sunday from 10:00am to 2:00pm…where you will get the true Bailey’s Brunch experience with all my recipes including the pancakes and waffles from my mom, and the blueberry muffins from my Aunt Hilda who had a dairy farm and blueberry patch in Buckfield, Maine.
Our Hollandaise is made from fresh free-range eggs from Orange Blossom Acres farm in Land O’Lakes, owned by my high school chum Leah Richards who delivers first thing in the mornings. You will taste the difference in the absolute freshness of all our products.
Don’t you just love fresh squeezed orange juice? I do too…and that is what we will be serving – fresh squeezed every day, and kept cold the way it should be.
Homemade preserves have always been a passion of mine. We will be making all kinds of preserves to serve at our brunch. This week we are serving strawberry preserves from Goodson Farms (Wimauma) strawberries, and fresh blackberry preserves.
Yesterday, I bought some beautiful kumquats at Fresh Market to use in our homemade orange and lemon marmalade (serving next week) – I’ve never made it before, it should be so good especially on our homemade toast and buttermilk biscuits. This summer, we will be making fresh Georgia peach preserves, and even guava jelly and guava butter. And I can’t wait until the fall for you to taste our apple butter.
I learned how to can vegetables and make preserves, jellies, and fruit butters from my good friend Patricia Anderson over 30 years ago and have been canning and preserving ever since. The taste of fresh always shines through.
Speaking of homemade preserves, well, you’ve got to try them on my cracked wheat toast made from the recipe I created many moons ago, and is in my parody book “The North Beach Diet – How To Gain 10-Pounds in 2-Days” – you will love the taste of the bulgur wheat in every bite.
Our cinnamon rolls are to die for. I’ve been making them since I was knee-high to a June Bug. How’s that for an obscure southern reference? My brother Byron can’t get enough of them. Alex Sullivan, who runs all the Carmel Kitchen restaurants and I disagreed – he wants his cinnamon rolls without raisins, and I think it is a sin not to have plump raisins in every bite. So, of course, we compromised and offer both…with and without raisins…served warm slathered with homemade icing made with a touch of Madagascar vanilla. Alex probably likes ketchup on his hotdog too. YUK!
Eggs benedict might be my favorite brunch food of all time. However, it must be made with homemade Hollandaise. I always ask the restaurant before ordering them, for if the Hollandaise is not fresh made…I pass. My Hollandaise has only four ingredients, fresh farm free-range eggs from Leah’s farm, fresh squeezed lemon juice, butter, and a touch of cayenne.
Try our crab benedict as well – made with the same crab cake recipe we used at Bailey’s with 95% – yes, 95% jumbo lump crab meat. You can get the recipe in this blog – just go to the search box and type in crab cake.
Omelets are on the menu as well – with over 16 different items to choose from so you can make your omelet your favorite way. Brie with bacon, spinach, mushrooms and caramelized onions might be my choice this week – maybe topped with some fresh diced tomatoes – that’s the beauty of our omelets – you can have it your way. What commercial does that sound like?
What would breakfast be without pancakes, waffles, and French toast? Every weekend my mom (Flossie) would fix one or the other for us. My high school friend Larry Kuhn would always find a way to show up for breakfast…for he knew something good was going to be served.
One time, we had my entire Plant High School Key Club spend the night (that’s 50 hungry guys) at our home in Old Hyde Park on Newport, and my mom made us all breakfast. Pancakes and bacon was the ticket – with her homemade maple syrup, which we will be serving as well. I don’t know how my mom did it – Bobby Hodges and Steve Cribb knocked on her door at 3:00am asking her to boil some shrimp because they were hungry…she did (my dad was in the shrimp business so we always had shrimp in the house).
Pancakes are my favorite – they have to be light and not at all heavy. My sister Pamela must have wall-to-wall blueberries in hers, and my brother Byron is a waffle connoisseur – he tasted ours last week and gave an enthusiastic “thumbs up” of approval. For those who want a bit more SOUL on their plate, we top the waffle with buttermilk fried chicken. The French Toast L’Orange was already on the Carmel menu, and I found it so good, we kept it without a change.
We will be serving up comfort brunch favorites like buttermilk biscuits and sausage gravy, or top our biscuits with buttermilk fried chicken and country chicken gravy for a true southern classic.
AND,,,speaking of Southern Classics – GRITS – we make the best!!! So good you will never have to add butter, cream, or salt – they are perfection on a plate. Everyone has talked about our grits for years.
We are offering some incredible special brunch drinks. Our Bloody Mary topped with a spiced shrimp is phenomenal…and you must try the Brandy Milk Punch.
Take a look at our menu – see if there is anything you would like us to offer…it would be great to hear from you. What is your favorite brunch food?
We will be changing up the menu as the weeks go by – I definitely want to offer a killer fresh corned beef hash topped with an over-easy fried egg, and Huevos Rancheros – so stay tuned and visit this site often to see what we are up to.
Come spend your weekends with us.
March 05, 2015
Pot pie is the quintessential comfort food for either cold or warm weather. It is the perfect dish for nothing else needs to be served with it…for everything is in one casserole, chicken, lots of vegetables, a luscious sauce, and a buttery crust. Whenever we served pot pie at Bailey’s it would literally fly out the door, and people would order extra to take home.
One thing that makes our pot pie unique is we would often use unusual vegetables that you wouldn’t find in anyone else’s, like: asparagus, black eyed peas, oven roasted butternut squash – you name the vegetable and it can go into a pot pie. Let me know what you like in your pot pie. However, one thing I will never use is potatoes – I just don’t like them in a pot pie. I see them as an unnecessary filler when other vegetables are much more suited.
It is always best made with homemade chicken stock. We would slow cook our chickens with loads of root vegetables, until the chicken was tender – and then we would let it marinate in the pot to cool overnight making a truly wonderfully hearty and rich stock.
However, there are shortcuts that can be made without harming the flavor of your pot pie. Go ahead and use a Sam’s chicken and Swanson’s chicken stock – I promise, I won’t tell…and no one will be the wiser. And if you have too – there are variations on the topping you can use – but remember, nothing beats homemade everything, and especially a delicious butter crust baked to a golden brown.
Delicious Chicken Pot Pie
- 1 whole rotisserie chicken from Sam’s Club (or your favorite grocery) – skinned, boned, pulled to leave good size pieces
- 2 sticks salted butter
- 1 cup flour
- 8 cups Swanson’s chicken stock
- 2 cups heavy cream
- Salt & fresh cracked pepper to taste
- 2 cups carrots (sliced diagonally, boiled in salted water until moderately tender)
- 2 cups frozen corn – fresh is always better – but frozen is fine (never canned)
- 2 cups frozen peas (never canned)
- 2 cups black eyed peas with snaps (cooked according to the package directions – often times they are called field peas with snaps)
- 2 cups frozen baby lima beans (cooked according to the package)
- 15 asparagus (snap or cut the tough ends off, and cut into 1 inch pieces)
- 1 bag frozen pearl onions
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
In a large pot, melt butter and then add flour stirring with a whisk. Add chicken stock and bring to a boil stirring with a whisk until the flour taste is cooked out of the sauce. Turn off heat and add the cream, Kosher salt and fresh cracked pepper to taste. Add chicken, and the vegetables prepared as per the ingredient list…stirring gently until well blended. I like my pot pie creamy, if you need too, add more chicken stock and cream.
Pour pot pie mixture into individual oven-proof serving bowls, or a large casserole. Top with crust and bake.
Butter Pie Crust
- 2 & 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 sticks salted ice cold butter (small cubes)
- 1 teaspoon Kosher salt
- 8 tablespoons ice cold water
In a Cuisinart, add flour, salt and cubed butter…pulse until it becomes like corn meal with butter a bit smaller than pea size throughout. Add ice water and pulse until it forms a ball – do not over mix. Turn onto a lightly floured surface and roll to the size of individual ramekins or your casserole.
Brush crust with egg wash mixture (1 egg yolk beaten with 1 tablespoon water). Vent top of crust with a knife so air can escape.
Bake on a sheet pan lined with aluminum foil until the crust is golden brown and the mixture is hot and bubbly.
In addition to our homemade pastry crust, there are 4 simple ways to top a pot pie:
1) Jiffy Corn Muffin Mix – follow directions on the back of the box and top the pot pie mixture. Know too that this will take about 15 minutes longer to bake
2) Puff Pastry – Pepperidge Farm has a very good puff pastry in the frozen section at your grocery store. Don’t forget to brush the top with egg wash made from 1 egg yolk beaten with 1 tablespoon of water
3) Pre-Made Pie Dough – while it is nothing like homemade, it is a quick substitute. You must vent this pie dough just like the homemade one
4) Pillsbury Flaky Biscuits – just top the pot pie mixture with a number of biscuits spaced one inch apart and bake