Archive for 2016
November 07, 2016
The Google” directed me to a wonderful place in Zephyrhills when I typed in Fried Whole-Belly Ipswich Clams one day last week. My favorite places for fried clams are The Clam Box in Ipswich, and Woodman’s in Essex, both in Massachusettes. When I operated Bailey’s Restaurant, we would have them flown in right from Ipswich.
When The Chowder House popped up as serving these delicious clams – and whole belly at that, well, I was on my way. And yes, it does take an hour from my house – but it was well worth the drive.
The Chowder Hous Ipswich fried clams were pefectly battered, perfectly fried, and perfectly briny sweet as they should be. Honestly, they may have been better than any I’ve had on the North Shore but it may have been that I was pining for my mom and dad. My mom was from Boston, and the first things us kids would do as we hit the shores of Boston in our Bill Currie Ford Country Squire station wagon, was to scream out: “Fried Clams” – and my dad would heed the calling and head right to the nearest local seafood market for a mess of these clams. Yes! We were happy campers.
A major homorable mention must go to the Lobster Roll – it was fresh and loaded with lobster – with no fillers.
Of course The Chowder House serves other fresh seafood as well – and everything I took a bite of (scallops, seabass, shrimp) were all great – but for me – I was being a “one trip pony” for my clams. Go. Go Now.
The Chowder House
Zephyrhills, Florida 3541
October 13, 2016
Tampa finally has a good place to buy authentic New York bagels once again, with The Original Brooklyn Water Bagel Company. It took me way to long to visit, but when I did, I was blown away by the taste.
Ever since Sunshine Bagels on South Dale Mabry closed a few years back we really haven’t had a good bagel company. Which is amazing for a town this size. Before baking them, they are boiled in Brooklyn Water…really…giving them the taste of an authentic New York bagel. I like them a lot, especially with Philadelphia Brand cream cheese and my homemade orange marmalade on a Sunday morning while I read the Sunday New York Times. What could be better?
The Original Brooklyn Water Bagel Company
111 South Dale Mabry HWY
FedEx Plaza – Dale Mabry & Kennedy
Tampa, Florida 33609
October 13, 2016
My niece Brittany who lives in Winter Park turned me on to the Winter Park Fish Company, which is a place to get really “fresh” seafood and lots of it to fill you to the gills. While it is a hole-in-the-wall with limited seating inside and out – I highly recommend this hideaway if you like the taste of really good seafood prepared well, especially if you are in the area.
They immediately bring to your table a fresh tuna salad with Ritz crackers – it is definitely not from a can and nowhere near the recipe our mom’s made for school lunches.
Of course, I ordered a number of items for I have to do proper research for our loyal readers. The fried shrimp, scallop and fish platter is abundant, served with fritters, fries, and slaw, and was all perfectly cooked. The grilled grouper tacos were awesome, as was the seared ahi tuna salad plate. They have a wide array of offerings that I can’t wait to try on my next visit – and even have a counter where you can buy fresh raw seafood to take home.
Wait!!! Did I mention desserts? For a hole-in-the-wall, they know how to do desserts…which are all homemade and delicious. My fave was the brownie covered in warm caramel and topped with vanilla ice cream. I’d go there just for that. Decadent.
Winter Park Fish Company
761 North Orange Avenue
Winter Park, Florida 32789
October 13, 2016
Our mini beef tenderloin bites with mushroom duxelle are one of the most requested hors d’oeuvres on our catering menu. Simply put, they are spectacular. They are easy to make at home – but why not have Bailey’s make them for your guests at your next holiday party.
While we would love to work with you on your corporate, office, or personal holiday gathering, we realize that many of you will have a few friends over during the holidays, so why don’t you try these beefy gems…
Please visit our website www.BaileyCatering.com and take a look at our wide array of offerings – all homemade from scratch, and mouthwateringly delectable.
- 1 pound center cut beef tenderloin – cut into 1” square cubes
- 1 package Pepperidge Farm Puff Pastry Sheets
- 1 pound chopped button mushrooms
- 4 ounces burgundy wine
- 1 ounce cognac
- 2 cloves finely chopped garlic
- 1 teaspoon fresh thyme
- ¼ cup grated gruyere cheese
- ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 3 tablespoons salted butter
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- Salt & pepper to taste
- 1 egg yolk, 2 tablespoons milk (egg wash)
Season the 1” square cubes of beef with salt and pepper. Place 1 tablespoon butter and 1 tablespoon extra- virgin olive oil in a skillet on medium high heat. Put 6 to 10 chunks of beef in a pan to caramelized each side. You do not want to cook the beef – just sear for color and flavor – a few seconds on each side. Take out of skillet and set aside. Let cool completely.
Once all the meat is done, in the same skillet, add remaining butter and mushrooms, and cook for 3 to 4 minutes until tender. Add garlic, thyme, red pepper flakes, wine, and cognac and cook down until all liquid is completely evaporated. Place in Cuisinart and pulse until a slight paste (with texture) forms. Let cool completely and add grated gruyere cheese.
STEP THREE (Assembling)
Roll out one sheet of puff pastry on a lightly floured surface until the pastry is 1/8th” thick and the two creases are melded into the sheet. With a 2” biscuit cutter, cut disks and place on floured surface.
Place one heaping teaspoon cooled mushroom duxelle in the center of the puff pastry and top with beef chunk. Fold puff pastry over meat and place the flap side down into a lightly sprayed mini muffin tin. Brush smooth tops with egg wash. Bake in a pre-heated oven at 425 degrees until puff pastry is golden brown – approximately 8 to 12 minutes.
September 15, 2016
Since we don’t know any other restaurant or catering firm serving authentic beignets, they are one of our most requested items during the holidays. These awesome gems are served hot from the fryer, liberally dusted with powdered sugar waiting for someone to take that first bite. Our servers are often directed by a guest: “Don’t you dare move away from me.”
Just think how your family and friends will love you when you make fresh beignets at your next party – or even at Brunch this Sunday. They are really easy.
- 1 cup whole milk
- ¼ cup sugar
- ¾ teaspoon salt
- ½ cup ground nutmeg
- 1 package active dry yeast
- 2 tablespoons lukewarm water
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 1 room temperature egg (beaten)
- 3 ½ cups sifted all-purpose flour
- Lots of powdered sugar
- 1 medium-size bag
Scald milk in a saucepan on the stove (or in the microwave). Add the sugar, salt, nutmeg and stir and set aside. Cool to lukewarm. Sprinkle yeast into warm water with a half teaspoon of sugar, stir and set aside until it bubbles up to tripple in size…this shows that the yeast is active. In a mixing bowl with a dough hook add beaten egg, oil, milk mixture, yeast, and flour. Mix (knead) on medium speed for approximately 7 minutes. Place in lightly buttered or oiled large mixing bowl, cover with plastic wrap and let double in bulk approximately one hour.
Turn the dough (it will be soft but not sticky), onto a well-floured surface or board. Knead gently. Roll into an 18” x 12” rectangle; cut into approximately 36 pieces or whatever size you desire. They can be big or small. Place on board and cover lightly with a dish towel for 30 minutes.
Preheat fryer to 350 degrees. If you are using a pot on the stove – use a thermometer to make sure your oil is at the correct temperature. Fry a few beignets at a time until golden brown on each side – turning when one side is brown. Drain on paper towels. Drop beignets in paper bag loaded with powdered sugar and vigorously shake until thoroughly coated. Serve hot.
NOTE: They do not hold or store well – so eat quickly…that has never been a problem in my house.
September 02, 2016
Check out my interview with Richard Gonzmart below.
September 01, 2016
I found this out of the way sandwich shop up near Drew Park behind Yankee Stadium. Let’s see, how would I describe it – a cross between a beech-house and something you would see on the Food Network show Diners Drive-Ins and Dives. It is well worth the visit. Nothing fancy, just good homemade sandwiches…pressed of course…as in the name, AJ’s Press.
The Mexican meatball is a must have, along with the jalapeno bacon hushpuppies, and the beer braised brisket.
4406 North Cortez Avenue
Tampa, Florida 33614
September 01, 2016
What could be better for dinner tonight than Shrimp, Scallops, Mussels, Pasta, Cream, and Parmesan Cheese? Nothing!!! I created this dish on the fly one night when I invited a couple friends over for supper last week. Since it was spur-of-the-moment, I had to use things I naturally had in my pantry, fridge, and freezer…I didn’t even have to go to the store.
This pasta dinner was a real hit and I wanted to share it with you so you can share it with your friends and family as well. Remember what Epicurus said: “Look for someone to eat and drink with before looking for something to eat and drink.”
CREAMY PARMESAN SHRIMP & SCALLOP PASTA
- 12 peeled and deveined 16/20 shrimp
- 4 cups thawed Publix brand Patagonian Scallops (small bay scallops)
- 20 mussels, cleaned and beard removed (keep refrigerated until ready for use)
- 1 pound thick spaghetti (feel free to use any pasta you desire, penne will work great too)
- 4 tablespoons butter
- 2 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil (EVOO)
- 4 tablespoons shaved garlic (very thin sliced garlic)
- ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
- ½ cup white wine1 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup cream
- 1 cup sliced grape tomatoes
- 4 tablespoons grated parmesan cheese
- 2 tablespoon soft butter
- 2 tablespoon chopped parsley
In a skillet heated on medium high heat, add butter and EVOO, once butter is melted add garlic, wine, red pepper flakes and salt, bring to a boil stirring throughout with a wooden spoon, add cream and salt. Add shrimp and scallops, once seafood is cooked add pasta and tomatoes, and cook for 1 minute stirring constantly, take off heat and toss with 2 tablespoons parmesan cheese, soft butter, and chopped parsley – bowl, arrange mussels, served with grilled lemon, salad, and a slice of Pane Rustica’s French baguette with unsalted butter.
Feel free to add more salt, red pepper flakes, and parmesan cheese to taste.
Our mussel recipe is on our blog – type-in “mussels” into the search box on our blog
Cut 2 lemons in half, dip in sugar and place on hot skillet until browned
August 25, 2016
On Swann has opened for lunch, and they are serving a super BLT. I love BLT’s but rarely order them outside because restaurants just don’t put enough bacon on them. I put no less than 7 slices on my homemade BLT’s…yes, 7 slices. Remember, the sandwich is called BACON, lettuce, and tomato – it starts with bacon so it should have plenty of it…at least on my sandwich.
I wanted to show you a picture of it, but I forgot, and ate it before I could snap a pic of On Swann’s decadent sandwich which also is made with avocado and plenty of Applewood smoked bacon. I ordered extra bacon on mine. You will love it.
There are two other things worth mentioning on their lunch menu: 1) tomato soup with their cheese toast, and 2) their chicken sandwich. Both delicious for a hearty lunch.
1501 West Swann Avenue – Old Hyde Park Village
Tampa, Florida 33606
August 25, 2016
This is probably one of the most requested items we have on our catering menu. Sweet potato biscuits are so good. Ours are soft, flaky, delicate, and are especially moist because of the way we cook our sweet potatoes. I always bake the sweet potatoes whenever I use them in baking (including my sweet potato pie) for it really intensifies the flavor of the potato – giving the end product a richness you won’t find if you boil or microwave them.
We stuff them with all kinds of great things, but my favorite this month is fresh baked Smithfield Ham topped with dressed micro-greens drizzled with orange balsamic glaze. Stuffing these delightful biscuits with our ham salad and boysenberry horseradish is freakin’ incredible as well.
If you have never made biscuits, don’t be daunted – it is really very simple. Just treat them gently.
1 pound cooked sweet potatoes (about 4 to 5 medium potatoes – weigh pound after baked)
2 ½ cups all-purpose flour
4 tablespoons baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
8 tablespoons COLD salted butter (1 stick)
¼ cup full fat buttermilk (Marburger Gourmet – you can buy at publix)
Preset oven to 400 degrees. Line baking sheet with aluminum foil. Bake potatoes until completely done. Let cool. Remove skin and smash.
In a Cuisinart (food processor), add dry ingredients. Blend for 30 seconds. Add butter chunks, pulse approximately 10 times until the butter is pea size. Put in large mixing bowl.
Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients, add smashed potato and buttermilk – mix together using a dinner fork. It is important not to over mix. Treat your biscuits like a baby’s bottom – very gently. If you over-mix or over-kneed your biscuits will be tough.
Gently roll or pat down on lightly floured board or surface to 1/2 inch high. Dip a biscuit cutter in flour each time you cut a biscuit. We cut our biscuits in small bite size pieces. Lay the cut biscuits one inch apart from one another on a parchment paper lined baking sheet. Brush with melted butter and sprinkle with sugar. Bake on middle rack for 8 to 12 minutes depending on your oven. They should be light in weight, and golden brown when properly baked.