Archive for 2017
December 01, 2017
CAN YOU BELIEVE IT IS DECEMBER?
For your cool winter nights this holiday season, you & your friends come alive with a steaming mug of my homemade hot chocolate and homemade marshmallows.
Park your tush into your favorite comfy chair, prop your feet on the well-worn ottoman with a cup of this hot chocolate and you will be guaranteed a soulful evening of bliss.
• 2 ½ cups whole milk
• 2 cups heavy cream
• 4 ounces semi-sweet chocolate
• 5 ounces milk chocolate
• 2 tablespoons sugar
• 1 teaspoon instant espresso (optional, but I like the extra depth of flavor)
• 1 teaspoon fine vanilla extract
Heat milk and cream on medium high heat in a medium sized heavy bottomed sauce pan. Once the milk has come to a hot simmer, take off the heat and add chocolates. Whisk until chocolates have completely melted, add vanilla and espresso. Heat on stove until very hot. Pour into warmed mugs and top with homemade marshmallows, or even a dollop of homemade whipped cream or vanilla ice cream. Adorn with a candy-cane or cinnamon stick.
THE PERFECT HOST GIFT
You will never-ever buy a bag of store-bought marshmallows once you have tried these delightful homemade gems of goodness. They are really simple to make – so give them a try this Thanksgiving.
• CANDY THERMOMETER
• 3 packages unflavored gelatin
• 1 cup ice cold water (divided)
• 1 ½ cups granulated sugar
• 1 cup light Karo corn syrup
• ¼ teaspoon salt
• 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
• ½ cup confectioners’ sugar
• ½ cup cornstarch
• Non-stick spray
Place gelatin in the bowl of your stand-mixer with the ½ cup ice water. Use the whisk attachment
In a heavy bottomed saucepan, combine another ½ cup water, granulated sugar, corn syrup, and salt. Place over medium high heat, cover and allow to cook for 3 to 4 minutes. Uncover, and cook until the mixture reaches 240 degrees…approximately 7 to 8 minutes. Once the mixture reaches 240 degrees, immediately pour in stand mixer which has been placed on low-speed using the whisk attachment. Once the hot mixture has been added to the mixing bowl – turn it on high and beat for 12 to 15 minutes, add the vanilla during the last 2 minutes of whipping.
Whisk the confectioners’ sugar and cornstarch in a small bowl. Lightly spray a 9”x13” pan and coat the pan with sugar cornstarch mixture, and shake around until the pan is completely covered. Pour the mixture into the 9”x13” prepared pan – top with more cornstarch sugar mixture and let sit for overnight.
Turn marshmallows onto a cutting board and cut into 1” squares. Once cut, dust with more powdered sugar cornstarch mixture.
November 02, 2017
EAT THIS. IT WILL MAKE YOU HAPPY.
I made this cheesesteak last night and it was such a WOW with everyone I just had to pass the recipe on…and quickly. Last time I was in Philadelphia, I ate at both the iconic cheesesteak joints – Pat’s and Geno’s. Pat’s uses Cheez-Wiz, and Geno’s uses provolone cheese. We sat down at Geno’s and compared every savory bite…I declared them both winners!
I couldn’t leave well enough alone, so I had to create my own version with shaved ribeye, peppers, onions, garlic, diced jalapeno (all caramelized to a soft melt in your mouth consistency) – and lots of Monterrey Jack cheese mixed in to give it that creamy goodness we all expect in a cheesesteak. Packed it in a buttered grilled hoagie, and believe you me – it was a true WOW.
It was such a hit – I wanted to share the recipe (click here); and share the cheesesteak with you as well. So the first 10 people to email me at RobertKimBailey@hotmail.com will be invited to Bailey’s for lunch in South Tampa, next Thursday, November 8th, at 12 noon. It’s a first come first serve invite so don’t whine if you weren’t fast enough – and we may, just may, throw in some beer battered onion rings – and some of our newly created Apple Pandowdy with homemade Madagascar vanilla ice cream.
BAILEY’S PHILLY CHEESESTEAK
INGREDIENTS – makes 2 sandwiches
• 2 pounds shaved high quality ribeye
• 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
• 2 tablespoons salted butter – and more for hoagie
• 2 green or red bell peppers (cut in large julienne slices) – optional but I love them
• 2 sweet onions (cut in large half-moon julienne slices)
• 3 cloves garlic (thin shaved)
• 1 whole large (or 2 small) jalapeno pepper (about 1 ½ packed tablespoons full)
• ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
• ½ pound chopped button mushrooms (optional)
• Kosher salt to taste
• 1 pound shredded Monterey Jack Cheese
• 2 hoagie rolls (I like Publix brand from their bakery)
• Soft butter for spreading on hoagie
Melt butter with olive oil in heavy bottom skillet. Add peppers, onion, garlic, jalapenos, red pepper flakes – cook down on medium heat until caramelized extremely soft and broken down. Cover skillet to help break down the onion and pepper mixture. If using mushrooms – cook separately in same skillet adding a little more butter and olive oil. Add to onion pepper mixture. Remove and set aside.
Salt and pepper shaved ribeye. In same skillet, melt 1 tablespoon butter with 1 tablespoon olive oil on medium high heat. Get the pan hot – but to not burn the butter. Add shaved ribeye immediately – using tongs or a fork – move around until cooked. This process only takes a couple of minutes for you do not want to overcook the beef. Once the beef is cooked, add in pepper and onion mixture – top with cheese, and cover until the cheese is melted all the way through.
Butter and grill the hoagie rolls until beautifully golden and crispy. Top with beef and cheese mixture. Cut in half. Lean forward – butt out – EAT.
NOTE: Shaved ribeye is the way to go. I get Kevin at Publix meat department to shave ribeye from a really cold piece. Or you can slice thin strips from a trimmed ribeye and accomplish the same thing – just a bit different texture.
October 05, 2017
The hands down number one best seller at Bailey’s Restaurant back in the day was our Mom’s Chicken Salad. It was called Mom’s because my mom would make this for us kids growing up. Spreading generous portions on hearty Monks’ white bread and send me on my way to Most Holy Name in Ybor City.
How many of you remember Monks’ Bread? That’s the only kind mom served in our home. It was hearty and delicious – much like Pepperidge Farm sandwich bread is today.
Mom always sliced my sandwiches in quarters making them perfect size for a grammar school kid. To this day I think my love of tea sandwiches is attributed to the way mom cut my sandwiches.
This chicken salad has so much more flavor than the usual cubed white chicken breast served with big chunks of celery. As you will note – we pack our chicken salad with chicken, not a lot of fillers. I hope you enjoy it as much as our family does.
One Sam’s Club Rotisserie chicken (or any other store-bought rotisserie chicken you like). Sam’s has the biggest and best chickens for my taste. It will take one-and-a half grocery store chickens to equal one Sam’s chicken – and they are only $5. You can also cook a fresh made whole chicken (with aromatic root vegetables) with the added benefit of making homemade chicken stock as well. Using a Sam’s chicken cuts a corner without harming taste. Actually, it tastes AWESOME!!!
Remove the skin, bone and gristle from chicken – pull chunks. Place 4 cups loosely chicken (not firmly packed) in food processor and pulse 9 times. Add the remaining 1 cup or so of chicken and pulse 4 to 5 times. This processed chicken should equal approximately 7 cups. If you do not have a food processor, chop small batches with a sharp knife. You do not want cubes or big chunks for this particular salad.
• 7 cups pulsed chicken
• 2 tablespoons finely minced parsley
• ¾ cup finely chopped celery with leaves if you have celery with leaves
• 1 teaspoon kosher salt
• ¾ teaspoon fresh cracked pepper
• 1 tablespoon fresh squeezed lemon juice
• 1 teaspoon celery seed (not celery salt, celery seed – there is a big difference)
• 1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons minced onion
• 1 ¼ cups Hellmann’s mayonnaise
#1: Croissant with Bibb lettuce (or sprouts), sliced tomato (season each slice with salt and pepper), sliced avocado
#2: Stuff in an oven roasted acorn squash. Cut acorn squash in half, brush each side with melted butter and olive oil, sprinkle tops with kosher salt and fresh cracked pepper. Bake at 400 degrees for 30 minutes until golden brown
#3: Cut Medjool dates in half and stuff – perfect for a side salad accoutrement
#4: Cut fresh pineapple in half, core center, and stuff with chicken salad
This chicken salad recipe also makes an incredible curry chicken salad just by adding the following 2 ingredients.
• 1 tablespoon good quality yellow curry
• 1 cup halved seedless red grapes
October 04, 2017
A couple weeks ago we were asked to do an array of Cuban Sandwiches as one of the choices for a luncheon. Ok, you ought to know by now – we can’t leave well enough alone, for we just have to put our own spin on whatever to make it a bit different. But how can one improve on a Cuban sandwich?
My favorites in the Bay area are Wright’s, Columbia, The Floridian on Kennedy, and the West Tampa Sandwich Shop. Now, after what we did to our Cuban – I’ll put ours up against anyone’s.
The three most important elements of creating an incredible dish are: #1: Ingredients, #2: Ingredients, and #3: INGREDIENTS.
So of course, we had to use Le Segunda Cuban bread – which we bought fresh that morning. The smells at Le Segunda make you want to visit daily…and we would if we had the time. Then, we used a quality ham and sliced it thin, same with the hard salami and we used Norwegian Jarlsberg cheese. Jarlsberg is my favorite Swiss-type cheese for this Cuban. We made our own dill pickles and cut them length-wise so you had a bite of pickle in each bite.
NOW – the Piece De Resistance, the Coup De Grace, if you will – was the mojo-sour-orange Pork Tenderloin we made especially for this Cuban. We marinated pork tenderloins for 24 hours in fresh sour orange juice, and homemade mojo with lots of garlic, oregano, herbs and spices. These tenderloins sat covered in this wonderfully flavor-packed marinade (under refrigeration) for what seemed like forever. It was killing me.
Then, we seared each tenderloin in a cast-iron skillet to caramelize each side, and put them in a 450 degree oven for 6 minutes – let them rest and cool, then refrigerated them for a few hours so they could be hand-sliced perfectly thin. OH-MY-GOSH was this meat tender, succulent, juicy, and delicious. It made the Cuban my new favorite in the BAY.
August 18, 2017
If you enjoy Indian food like I do – Flames Indian Cuisine on MacDill across from DATZ will truly excite your taste-buds. Ok, when I go to an Indian or Asian restaurant I always go with friends who like to eat so I can taste as many dishes as possible. I need a true sampling of a wide array of their offerings so I can report back to you. At least, that’s what I tell myself.
While there was only 3 of us this time – I can tell you, we did the restaurant proud with the abundant amount of delicacies we ordered. The best thing about our experience – all three of us felt it was the BEST Indian food in Tampa, and we could not really decide on what menu item we liked better.
We had: Samosa’s, Chicken Pakora, Mix Vegetable Pakora (maybe my favorite of the apps), Mulligatawny, Chicken Khorma, Butter Chicken, Dal Makhani, Goan Shrimp Curry, Lamb Vindaloo, Garlic Naan – well, I told you we did a lot of sampling. While I must try other dishes on my next visit – it will be hard to stay away from the Goan Shrimp Curry (I dreamed about it that night), or the 15 dishes we consumed.
Go. Go with friends. Go now. Call me – and I’ll go with you. You will thank me. Please do let me know of your experience.
FLAMES INDIAN CUISINE
2601 South MacDill Avenue
Tampa, Florida 33629
August 18, 2017
Who doesn’t love onion rings? And if you do – you will absolutely do back-flips for these crispy critters. The beer makes them. We have been frying up these onion rings all week to test the recipe out for you. What’s your favorite type of onion ring? Crunchy beer battered thick slices, or onion strings dredged in flour and fried to a crispy golden brown.
Remember the ones Palios Brothers served when they were on the corner of MacDill and San Miguel. Boy-oh-boy did I love them. The only downside about going to Palios for lunch was that you smelled like fried chicken all day…making everyone around you wanting to take a bite out of you. I would make an evening pitstop to Palios at least once a month for some fried shrimp (which were the best ever), and a batch of onion their super onion rings.
Regardless of the way you like your onion rings, for me, the best onion to use for onion rings is the sweet Vidalia onion from Vidalia, Georgia which began growing these luscious onions in the 1930’s.
Please tell me where you think the best onion rings in the Bay area are served. And also tell me what your favorite dipping sauce is…ketchup, mustard, mayo, blue cheese, buffalo – I like ketchup myself. I want to hear from you. RobertKimBailey@hotmail.com.
• 3 large Vidalia
• 24 ounces Heineken Beer
• 3 cups all-purpose flour
• 1 tablespoons salt
• 1 teaspoon black pepper
• 1 ½ cups cornstarch
• 2 teaspoons paprika (not smoked)
• 1/3 cup water
Slice Vidalia onions into ½” to ¾” slices. Put all the dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl and whisk until well blended. Add beer and water and whisk until well combined.
Dip onions in batter a few at a time (for it is important not to overcrowd the fryer or they will steam and not fry) and fry in 350 to 375 degrees oil until golden brown. Place on paper towel lined baking sheet and lightly dust with Kosher salt.
August 09, 2017
We all love homemade cookies. When we were kids, my mom made these wonderful sugar cookies with cream, and put them in our school lunch boxes. Often times she would send extra to share with my friends…which I did, teaching me a very valuable lesson of how good it felt to share my food. Which is why, to this day, I love the quote from the Greek philosopher Epicurus: “We should look for someone to eat and drink with before looking for something to eat and drink.”
These gems are crispy on the outside, with just the right amount of soft chew on the inside. You can make them crispy all the way through by just baking them longer, and the reverse is true as well – for if you want a chewier cookie, bake them a bit less time. Bake a few at a time to see what you like – they are best eaten completely cooled if you can wait that long.
This recipe will make 42 to 44 cookies and can easily be cut in half to make 21 to 22 cookies. Which is often what I do when desiring a smaller amount for a midnight snack.
• 1 cup salted butter, room temperature
• 2 cups granulated sugar
• 2 room temperature large eggs
• 2 tablespoons heavy cream
• 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
• ½ teaspoon salt
• 2 teaspoons baking powder
• 3 cups all-purpose flour
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In an electric mixer (can be done with a hand-held mixer or by hand – for my mom mixed them by hand), combine butter, sugar, and salt, beat until well combined. Add eggs, cream, and vanilla and mix completely. Add flour and mix until thoroughly mixed. Do not over-mix.
Scoop balls of dough with an ice cream scoop (I use a small ice cream scoop that measures a tablespoon full), roll the dough ball in granulated sugar – colored sugars are great for Easter, Christmas, or a fun party – and place on a parchment lined baking sheet. If you do not have an ice cream scoop – use a tablespoon and roll in your hand.
Bake in preheated oven on middle rack for 5 minutes then rotate pan and continue to bake. Depending on the size of your cookie, your desired texture, and how your oven is regulated, these will take between 10 to 15 minutes. It is always good to bake a couple cookies the first time to see how they come out with your oven.
July 28, 2017
Being a southern boy at heart and in truth, Pimento Cheese is part of my DNA. I love pimento cheese with crackers topped with sweet pickled red onions, on a burger, tea sandwiches, grilled on wheat bread with bacon and avocado, stuffed in jalapenos and wrapped in bacon – as you can tell by now – I love it!
Everyone has their favorite recipe. Admittedly, I keep tweaking it…I use to make mine straight up – but then I added jalapeno’s and was hooked. I now use three different peppers for it adds just the right amount of flavor and punch for my taste. Let your own palate dictate your recipe…mild or spicy, it is all good.
- 8 ounces grated Cracker Barrell Vermont white cheddar
- 8 ounces grated Cracker Barrell extra-sharp yellow cheddar
- 8 ounces Philly Cream cheese (room temperature)
- ½ cup Hellmann’s mayo
- ½ teaspoon dry mustard
- ½ teaspoon onion powder
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon fresh cracked black pepper
- ½ teaspoon McCormick’s Sriracha powder
- 4 ounces diced pimentos (drained)
- 1 tablespoon finely chopped jalapeno’s (optional, or more to taste)
Put all ingredients in a stand mixer, using the paddle attachment, mix until soft and completely combined. Use on anything you lil’ ole heart cry’s out for. Today, it is grilled. Try with avocado and bacon.
July 14, 2017
Meatballs and spaghetti are on everyone’s favorite COMFORT food list. When we were kids growing up in old Hyde Park, my mom served spaghetti and meatballs every couple of months or so – and it was always a special treat.
Mom invited my entire Most Holy Name (in Ybor City) 2nd grade class to appear on the popular WFLA Channel 8 “Uncle Bruce” TV show for kids. After the show, she invited the entire class (including the nuns) for spaghetti and meatballs on the patio at our Newport Avenue home. You can be assured I was popular after that day.
During beach week after 10th grade in my Plant High days, she brought us boys a big pot of meatballs and spaghetti about midway through when she knew our food supply would be low…which it was virtually non-existent…you can imagine 10 guys in a three bedroom house on Indian Rocks beach. When we saw her coming down the walkway, the only thing you could hear was “hide the beer.” She knew well enough not to venture inside our immaculately kept beach house. We ate good that night – the only night really that we had much real food.
Everyone has their own meatball recipe…and over the years I’ve made many different meatball recipes as well. Mom just used beef, no pork, and Ritz crackers instead of bread and milk. I’ve added and subtracted to create this one which I like the BEST. Shoot me an email at RobertKimBailey@hotmail.com and let me know what you think.
- 2 pounds ground beef (80% beef, 20% fat)
- 1 pound ground pork
- 3 cups crust-less white sandwich bread soaked in 1 cup whole milk for 1 hour
- 1 egg
- ½ cup sautéed onions – cooked in 2 tablespoons butter until translucent
- 1 cup grated parmesan cheese
- 1 ½ cups whole milk ricotta cheese
- 1 tablespoon salt
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes (more if desired)
- ½ cup chopped Italian parsley
- ½ cup chopped fresh basil
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh garlic
Combine all the ingredients and smush (a culinary term) together until all ingredient are well combined. Roll into any size you like and place on a baking sheet brushed with extra virgin olive oil. Brush tops of meatballs with extra virgin olive oil as well.
Please in a pre-heated 350 degree oven until done – approximately 25 to 30 minutes. Once done, place in sauce and let cook in sauce on low heat for an hour or so.
MOM’S SAUCE INGREDIENTS
There are many good brands of canned tomato product on the market – I happen to like Hunts, but of course feel free to substitute for your favorite.
- 2 tablespoons salted butter
- 2 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 1 quart finely chopped onions
- 2 tablespoons finely chopped garlic (more depending on your liking)
- 4 – 28 ounce cans Hunts Crushed Tomatoes
- 1 – 28 ounce can Hunts Tomato Sauce
- 1 – 28 ounce can Hunts Tomato Puree
- 2 – 6 ounce cans Hunts Tomato Paste
- 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes (more or less depending on your taste)
- 1 tablespoon Kosher salt (more or less depending on your taste)
- ¼ cup sugar (more or less depending on your taste
- 1 cup chopped fresh basil
Melt butter and olive oil in a large heavy bottomed pot. Add onions and cook on low heat until onions are soft and translucent but not brown – add chopped garlic and red pepper flakes, and cook down for 5 to 10 minutes or so – being careful not to brown or burn the garlic.
Add all the tomato sauces and paste, salt and sugar – stir until completely combined. Simmer on medium low heat for approximately 2 hours stirring occasionally. Add the fresh chopped basil and meatballs, and cook on low heat for another hour or so. Let cool completely before re-heating and eating. It will give the sauce and meatballs to meld together intensifying the overall flavors. Better yet, let cool and refrigerate overnight for it is always better the next day.
Top with fresh grated Parmesan or Romano cheese – fresh grated – not from a can.
THE MEATBALL HOAGIE YOU’LL CRY OVER
We all love hoagies, but this meatball sub is to die for. I created this compound butter especially for this meatball sub and I bet you will use this over and over again when serving southern Italian dishes – it will be perfect on any bread. It is important to use siracha powder – and not the sauce – it will intensify the flavor and you will love every bite of this toasted parm bread.
Feel free to go over the top and add mozzarella, or jack, or provolone and bake until bubbly hot – you decide.
GARLIC PARMESAN SIRACHA POWDER BUTTER
- 1 stick salted room temperature
- 2 teaspoons siracha powder (powder, not the sauce)
- 3 tablespoons freshly grated parmesan cheese
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 2 Publix hoagie rolls
Wisk butter, siracha powder, parmesan cheese, and garlic powder until well combined. Liberally spread on both sides of hoagie rolls and broil until golden brown.
Cut meatballs in half and load up your hoagie and top with lots of sauce and freshly grated parmesan cheese.
June 29, 2017
You will delight in every single bite of this delicious chocolate cheesecake. My point of reference was the Chocolate Cheese Pie served at Bern’s Steak House. While a bit different, it is just as delicious. So, this is my homage to Bern’s dessert room without having to get all dressed up.
It is an easy dessert to make – and it will definitely be your “go to” the next time you are having a special occasion and need something that will knock their socks off. I made it this weekend – for no reason at all – and shared it with lots of friends…who all thought it was a hit.
- 16 whole Oreo cookies
- 2 tablespoons salted butter
Put Oreos into food processor – pulse until the cookies have turned into a powder. Add the melted butter and pulse 7 to 10 times. Mold into the bottom of a 10” spring form pan (that has been sprayed or buttered, and press down. Bake in a 350 degree pre-heated oven for 10 minutes. Let cool on rack.
- 3 – 8 ounce packages Philadelphia brand cream cheese
- 6 ounces milk chocolate (Dove or Ghirardelli are my 2 favorites for this cheesecake)
- 1/3 cup heavy cream
- 4 extra large eggs
- 1 ¼ cups sugar
- 2 tablespoons cocoa
- 1 teaspoon instant espresso
- 2 teaspoons fine vanilla
Place heavy cream in a microwaveable bowl – microwave 30 seconds until cream comes to a boil, add chocolate and stir until completely melted – do not bring chocolate to a boil. Set aside to cool.
In a stand mixer, add cream cheese and sugar and beat with the paddle attachment until light and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time and beat until each egg is well combined. Add chocolate cream mixture, cocoa powder, vanilla, and espresso and mix on medium speed until smooth. Scrape the sides and bottom of mixing bowl to make sure everything has been combined.
Pour into Oreo crusted 10” spring form pan. Cover top with aluminum foil and bake in a pre-heated 250 degree over for one hour. Take off aluminum foil and bake another half hour – maybe 10 to 20 minutes longer if necessary – checking it every 5 minutes or so after 1.5 hours.
The cheesecake will jiggle in the middle – don’t let that worry you – it will set up. Let cool and refrigerate for 10 hours or overnight.
- 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
- ¼ cup boiling heavy cream
- ½ teaspoon vanilla
Put chocolate chips in a bowl. Add boiling heavy cream and vanilla and stir until well combined. The cream should melt the chips. If a few chips remain un-melted, put bowl in micro for 10 seconds – take out and stir.
Pour in zip lock baggy, squeeze into one corner – cut a small bit off the edge of the baggy – squeeze and pipe on to chilled cheesecake in all kinds a zig-zag ways. The decoration is up to you!!! Serve with whipped cream is desired. Maybe even a couple of fresh raspberries if you want to guild-the-lily.