Archive for June, 2015
June 25, 2015
This wonderful salad is both light and refreshing and with the addition of our goat cheese medallions, it can easily be turned into an incredible summer entrée.
INGREDIENTS FOR WARM GOAT CHEESE
- 1 – 11 ounce log of plain or peppered Montrachet
- 2 egg whites beaten with 1 tablespoon water
- 2 cups plain panko bread crumbs with 1 teaspoon finely chopped parsley
- 2 tablespoons melted salted butter
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Slice the goat cheese in 12 – 1/2” inch slices. Dip each round in beaten egg white, then, in panko bread crumbs, making sure the goat cheese is completely coated. Place the slices on a rack and chill for about a half hour.
Melt salted butter and olive oil in non-stick skillet on medium high heat. Cook goat cheese round until nicely browned on all sides. They should be warm, but not melted.
INGREDIENTS FOR THE SALAD
- Equal amount of arugula and mixed field greens
- Dried cranberries
- Toasted pine nuts (toasted on a flat baking sheet in 350 degree oven for about 10 minutes until nutty brown)
- Warm Montrachet medallions (2 to 3 pieces placed on top of each salad)
- Fresh Lemon Vinaigrette
INGREDIENTS FOR FRESH LEMON VINAIGRETTE
- 1/4 cup Grey Poupon Dijon mustard
- ¾ teaspoon kosher salt
- ¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
- 1 cup fresh squeezed lemon juice
- 1 ¼ cups vegetable oil
Whisk all ingredients (except for the oil) in a medium size mixing bowl until well blended and the sugar is dissolved. Whisk in oil a quarter cup at a time until emulsified.
ASSEMBLING THE SALAD
Toss arugula, mixed field greens, dried cranberries, toasted pine nuts, with desired amount of fresh lemon vinaigrette. Place salad on chilled plate, top with 2 to 3 slices of warm goat cheese…serve.
June 17, 2015
Buddy, my dog, my friend, my companion for 15 years and four months, died a year ago June 21, 2014. We had been at each other’s side since picking him up as a pup of 4 months on July 1, 1999 at the humane society a day before he was to be euthanized. I called this wonderful mutt “my society dog.”
He was diagnosed with mouth cancer early that summer and he had been on Chemo every three weeks and doing quite well actually. We were at dog parks every day, including the day before he passed away. Buddy took a sudden turn for the worse about 9pm the night before he died. I talked with him, held him, loved on him from then until the hospice doctor from Lap-of-Love came to our home for his final rest.
Buddy was such a hoot. He was a true restaurant dog. He went with me to work, to friend’s homes, and pretty much everywhere. He especially loved the bank because the nice tellers always gave him Milk Bones. When I had to leave town my friend Ken Giordano always stayed with him at my home. And how he loved the restaurant in Old Hyde Park…Jennifer Pio would walk him around stopping at each shop to get a drink of water and a treat. He loved her so. My friend and executive chef Barry would come to the office with pieces of cheese – oh how he loved cheese.
Buddy has been with me at every single broadcast of my Saturday Foodtalk Radio Show since April 24, 2010 – laying next to me as I’d talk up a storm about “our” favorite subject…food. It will be hard to do the show without him at my side. He was command trained, and all I would have to say is “shoes,” “socks,” hat,” and he would bring me whatever…a perfect dog for a lazy man. It was never through my training however, for he knew from where he came and was full of love and had a servant’s spirit.
Recently I read peoples Facebook posts about their beloved dog passing away and there would be a pause in my step for I knew this day would come. I had another great dog Sampson for 15 years who I also loved deeply. He died suddenly in the back seat of my car of a heart attack. That was awful…just too sudden.
Finding out Buddy had cancer was a blessing really – for the past year, it gave me the opportunity to lay next to him every night before we went to sleep and whisper in his ear: “thank you for loving me the way you do, for caring for me the way you do…you have brought so much fun, joy, and peace in my life…I love you.” Sometimes I’d cry, and he would lick my tears. He knew. And I knew his love for me was boundless.
It is hard to realize that I will never see him again…never be greeted with his wonderful happy smile and wagging tail again…never have my face licked with reckless abandon again. It is all so sad, all so part of life, yet all so final. Goodbyes are never easy, final goodbyes…even tougher.
French may have the best term for saying goodbye – au revoir, “’til we meet again.” While I don’t believe in some doggie heaven where we are reunited with our beloved pets – I can tell you this – I will be reunited with Buddy every single day of my life, in my mind-eye, and in my heart. For when I think of him, I will smile, my heart smiles. Au Revoir my dear Buddy…au revoir.
June 17, 2015
I love passing on good recipes…and you will love this one with a few of my own added touches. Recipes are guides to your own creation. Have you ever been to Rao’s in New York City? They have a 6 month waiting list.
Many of you may know the owner Frank Pellegrino, the actor heading the FBI unit investigating the Soprano family on HBO. I have seen him do this recipe on Martha Stewart, Ina Garten and other national TV shows. You can even buy his bottled sauces at most grocery chains – they put out a good product.
This lemon chicken dish is really lemony and tasty. I added a touch more garlic, and a knob of soft salted butter to round out the flavor components to my tastes…but everything else remains as Rao’s makes it for their customers.
- 2 broiling chickens ( about 2 ½ pounds each – cut into small pieces)
- 2 cups fresh lemon juice
- 1 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
- 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh garlic
- 1 teaspoon oregano
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon pepper
Finish With The Following
- 2 tablespoons soft salted butter
- Finely chopped Italian Parsley
Preheat broiler for at least 15 minutes prior to cooking
You can buy a whole chicken and cut it up yourself. You can buy a whole chicken and ask the meat department to cut it up for you. Or you can buy chicken pieces (4 each of drumsticks, thighs, breasts, wings) and cut it up yourself. Cut chicken into small pieces. The drumsticks and wings you can leave whole. Chicken breasts should be cut into quarters if they are large, and thighs should be cut at least in half – and if large into quarters.
Combine all the ingredients for the lemon sauce into a bowl and whisk until well combined
Put cut chicken on aluminum baking sheet (with raised sides) skin side down, turning once, and broil until the skin is golden brown and, when pierced, the juices should run clear…approximately 30 minutes of cooking on the upper middle rack.
Pour lemon sauce over chicken and toss until well coated. Return to broiler, and broil for at least 3 minutes. Turn the chicken once, and broil for 1 to 2 minutes until well browned. Add butter and toss until butter is melted and chicken is well coated.
Place chicken in a nice casserole – sprinkle with parsley. You must have a rustic Italian bread, or French baguette for dipping into the juices. You can even reserve some of the cooled juices (before the butter is added) and use as a salad dressing with fresh arugula and shaved parmesan cheese.
A QUICK STORE-BOUGHT DESSERT PAIRING – PERFECT WITH THIS LEMON CHICKEN
You know I love dessert. Most of us do. But sometimes you just don’t have the time to make something from homemade. I’m always looking for products that are really tasty that can be served in a snap.
Pepperidge Farm makes some really good products. Their Luscious Lemon Cake is really great. You can find it in the frozen section at your grocery store – along with the raspberry sorbet from Haagen Dazs. A slice of cake with a scoop of sorbet – really, really, makes a scrumptious dessert. And it is surprisingly light.
June 11, 2015
How many restaurants give you a tour of their kitchen to see all the inner workings? How many have a wine cellar (the largest restaurant wine cellar) with a collection of some of the finest wines in the world? Bern’s of course.
Traditions are made and kept at Bern’s Steakhouse – from celebrities to President’s and even the Bailey family. My mom loved Bern’s and I remember her last occasion celebrating one of my nieces birthday. All dressed in her purple nit Chanel suit with a gold nugget necklace my dad gave to her many years before.
Now, due to societies diminished dress codes, you may find men showing up without a jacket or tie, but that would never happen when my mom was around – she was always dressed beautifully, and she made us dress for dinner as well…her boys always in suits and ties.
Their French Onion soup is the best by far topping it with four cheeses (Fontina, Parmesan, Asiago, and Gjetost) – their salad and dressings are oh so fresh, delicate, and delectable…they even peel the tomatoes. The homemade toast served with the soup – and the fresh cut overly large potato chips with truffle chive crème fraiche – are all sublime. We always get an order of their cheese toasts.
And what restaurant can rival their baked potato? It’s the way a potato is supposed to be served, even at home. Do I dare mention the crispy perfectly cooked fried onions?
Their fresh cut ribeye steaks are my favorite, but then there is the Chicken Gert, and the Char Grilled Shrimp – I could go on-and-on…and I do. As you can tell – I’m a fan. When I owned Bailey’s, we use to do an “Homage to Bern’s” dessert room with the “Kim Midas” a take-off on their King Midas with warm carrot cake, homemade Macadamia Nut ice cream, all drizzled with their decadent Valrhona chocolate sauce.
My friend Linda Ward and I bought a few pints of their Macadamia Nut ice cream one time just so we could figure out how to make it – we came pretty close. Call me if you want to taste.
Yes, there are many “high-end” steak houses in Tampa Bay, and some really good ones too; but none with the rich traditions and heritage Bern’s exhibits. Bern Laxer was a master of both detail and finesse – while we miss him – he lives on.
1208 South Howard Avenue
Tampa, Florida 33606
June 11, 2015
When I was a kid growing up in Old Hyde Park on Newport Avenue, my mom would make me and, my friends, homemade waffles and bacon on Saturday mornings. Recipes are made to share, which is why you can get them at Bailey’s Brunch at Carmel – and now you can make them yourself.
Yes, my mom was good to us kids – once we even had the entire 40 member Key Club spend the night at my house, and when we woke up in the morning, she and our neighbor Mrs. Lopez had waffles, pancakes, French toast, bacon and sausage waiting for a bunch of hungry guys. Those were the days.
We use the same recipe my mom made us kids at Carmel for our brunch – they are light and tender, yet crispy on the outside – you’ll love them as much as we did growing up. Make them this weekend – and tell me how you enjoyed them.
- 4 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 1 teaspoons baking soda
- 4 eggs separated – beat egg whites separately
- 3 1/2 cups Marburger full-fat buttermilk (found at Publix)
- 1 stick melted salted butter
In a large mixing bowl add all the dry ingredients into a sifter. Whisk well with a wire whisk.
Melt butter and set aside.
Crack and “separate” eggs (yolks in one bowl, and whites in a different bowl) being careful not to get shells into egg mixture). Whisk eggs yolks until blended, add buttermilk and whisk to combine. Add melted butter, and combine.
Make a well in the middle of the dry ingredients and pour the wet mixture in the center and stir with a rubber spatula until well blended.
Beat egg whites with an electric mixer until stiff peaks form. Fold egg whites gently into the waffle batter. Using a rubber spatula, start in the center of the batter and work outward. Fold gently for you do not want to overwork batter because the waffles will develop a sponge-like texture when cooked.
Fold until the egg whites are evenly blended showing no white within the batter.
COOKING THE WAFFLE
Set your waffle iron temperature to high – it should tell you when it is ready. Spray both sides with pan coat spray.
Ladle batter into the middle of the waffle iron. Close, and cook until the green light comes on…or however your waffle iron tells you they are ready. Take out.
June 04, 2015
If you’ve ever been to a Chinese, Thai, or just about any Asian restaurant, I bet you have tasted Crab Rangoon. It’s one of my favorite appetizers, especially with our orange drizzle. We’ve made thousands of them at Bailey’s and we served over 400 of them just last night at a law firm reception.
These gems are so easy to make, and perfect for any party… you’ll wonder why you haven’t made them before. You can make them in any shape you desire.
INGREDIENTS FOR CRAB RANGOONS
- 12 ounces Philadelphia Cream Cheese
- 1 pound jumbo lump crab meat (really good grab meat is essential)
- 4 scallions
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
- 2 teaspoons Sriracha sauce (or whichever brand of hot sauce you like)
- 1 package of wonton wrappers
Put all the ingredients (except for the wonton wrappers) in a Cuisinart or food processor (you can do this by hand if you don’t have a food processor). Pulse until ingredients are well blended.
Have a bowl of water with a pastry brush (you may also use your fingers) ready. Lay out about 10 wonton wrappers on a flat surface – and put about one teaspoon of the crab Rangoon mixture in the middle…brush lightly with water on all sides. Form the Rangoon the way you would like them – I like mind like the initial picture we have given – all four corners pulled together like a little present. Make sure all the sides seal or they will explode in the fryer.
Place on a baking sheet with the bottom sprinkled with a bit of flour or corn starch. Put the filled baking sheet in the freezer until the Rangoon’s are frozen…store in zip lock bag. They will keep for approximately 3 months.
They are best if fried directly from the freezer. Fry in 350 degree vegetable oil until golden brown. Serve with our orange drizzle.
INGREDIENTS FOR ORANGE DRIZZLE
- 1 large jar Smucker’s Orange Marmalade
- 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 3 tablespoons honey (whatever kind you desire – I like Orange Blossom)
STEP ONE (The Orange Drizzle)
Place all the ingredients in a heavy bottom sauce pan on medium high heat. Stir until completely melted. Strain through a fine mesh strainer stirring and scraping until all the moisture is out of the orange pulp. Discard orange pulp. Drizzle each fried Rangoon with the Orange drizzle or serve with a ramekin for dipping.
June 04, 2015
If you are like me, we are always looking for good places to eat. Iavarone’s has been around for what seems like a hundred years serving good spaget’ & meatballs, chicken parm, and a really good ribeye steak as well. It’s like visiting an old friend…it’s always good, and you leave wondering why it’s takes so long between visits.
Iavarone’s is always packed, which for me is a great sign for me. I usually eat their for lunch – and yes, my favorite thing to order is either the spaghetti and meatballs, or the chicken parmesan. Yet, sometimes I order the ribeye. What I like about their menu is they keep it small – not a huge amount of choices, just the right amount – making sure what they do serve is fresh and tasty.
3617 West Humphrey street
Tampa, Florida 33713