Bern Steak House Opens Ice Cream Parlor at Epicurean Hotel Across From Bern’s
If you are a fan of Bern’s iconic Macadamia Nut Ice Cream – head right on over to Tampa’s newest sweet treat…Little Midway. I did just that – tried 4 different ice creams including the mac nut…all creamy and delicious…and homemade. You can get them by the pint or by the cone.
I suggest you go with a group and get one of everything so you can taste all their sweet delights – especially their hand-held treats which are both fresh and tasty. I hate pastries that look beautiful in the case, only to get home to a tasteless stale piece of – well, you know what.
Everything I tasted was perfect and really good…I’ve been back twice – and its only be opened a couple of weeks. South Howard needed an ice cream shop to replace the Old Meeting House. Where nothing can replace OMH, you will definitely find it a really “great” place for homemade ice cream and a sweet treat.
LITTLE MIDWAY Epicurean Hotel across from Bern’s Steak House 1205 South Howard Avenue Epicurean Hotel Tampa, Florida 33606 (813) 999-8711 www.LittleMidway.com
My mom would make us Jiffy Corn Muffins at least once a week…and us kids always gobbled them up with sweet cream butter and Palmalito guava jelly. YUM!
Mom was from Boston so she liked a sweet cornbread – which is heresy here in the south where we like cornbread without sugar made in a bacon greased cast-iron skillet. My dad was from Christmas, Florida – so we got the best of both worlds, the deep south cooking as well as the northern influences from my mom with her chowders, New England boiled dinner with corned beef, and hearty stews.
I like cornbread every which way – sweet or not. And I make croutons from either if there are leftovers (which is not too often) – they really make a salad sing. Just cut the cornbread in one-inch cubes – place them on a baking sheet tossed with a bit of melted butter or extra virgin olive oil, salt and pepper – bake in a 350 degree oven until nice and crispy. Sometime try a Panzanella salad made with cornbread croutons – they kick it up tremendously.
Of course, I cannot leave a simple thing like cornbread well enough alone…I’m always tinkering with a recipe. Wanting a more-moist cornbread, I added a can of creamed corn, which was good, but I kept tinkering. I added some diced jalapenos – good, but I kept tinkering – finally reaching perfection when I melted butter with honey and poured it all over the top. OMG!!! You’ve got to make this for your family and friends…perfect accompaniment for picnics, Sunday supper, BBQ’s, fried chicken & collards, church socials – you name it – and it will be a super hit.
3 boxes Jiffy Corn Muffin mix
3 lightly beaten eggs
1 cup whole milk
1 can creamed corn
2 jalapenos finely diced including seeds
1/2 cup honey (I like orange blossom)
1 stick butter
Combine Jiffy mixes, eggs, milk, creamed corn, and jalapenos in large bowl and stir until combined – do not overmix. Let sit for 5 minutes. Pour into a greased 9” X 13” baking pan, and let sit a couple more minutes. I use a baking spray, but a vegetable oil will do fine.
Bake in preheated oven until a toothpick comes out clean…approximately 30 t0 40 minutes. Everyone’s oven is different so look at it in 30 minutes and rotate – continue to bake if necessary.
Melt butter with honey in microwave…stir to combine. When cornbread is done – remove from oven and poke with holes with a skewer. Pour melted honey butter over cornbread and let cool. This cornbread is good warm or room temperature.
BT Nguyen has done it again. Last Saturday morning I found myself passing what I didn’t know existed – Bistro BT. Admittedly I am a huge fan of anything BT creates in her kitchens. So, I made a mental note to drop by soon.
Well, I didn’t know “soon” would be two hours later…when a good friend and I decided to try somewhere new for lunch. And we are super glad we did. We remembered all the people on the Titanic who waved off dessert that fateful last night…so we ”seized the moment” diving right in – ordering way more than our famished stomachs could bear.
Fresh Rolls with Shrimp and peanut dipping sauce,
Crispy Spring Rolls with a chili dipping sauce,
Pho Noodle Soup with Beef Tenderloin,
Pork Banh Mi (below)
Chicken Curry Stew (below)
And last, but not least – Heavenly Chocolate Mousse
Well it’s true folks – the two of us ordered it all and rolled out of this charming 15 seat beautifully decorated French-Country-Style bistro – while full to our hearts content – we laughed as we drove down Henderson boulevard realizing, we were stuffed, but discussing the best way to sear a ribeye steak.
One day I just want someone to look at me the way I look at these potatoes. For years now, people have been asking me for this recipe – they are the creamiest most delicious potato dish you will ever sink your teeth into.
Sometimes late at night, I’m so hungry my belly thinks my throats been cut – so I find myself wandering into the kitchen for a midnight rendezvous with theses cheesy creamy potatoes. 30 seconds in the microwave – and these potatoes make a delightful snack. If you can’t wait the 30 seconds, well, go ahead and eat them cold.
By the way, have you ever thought if we weren’t supposed to have a midnight snack – why is there a light in our fridge??? Darn good question to ponder.
These scalloped potatoes will be a “go to” dish for every special occasion.
GRUYERE SHALLOT SCALLOPED POTATOES
4 pounds Yukon Gold Potatoes (note: you may use half sweet potatoes and half gold potatoes for an even richer potato dish
1 quart heavy cream
14 ounces fine gruyere cheese
3 shallots (peeled and finely diced)
1 teaspoon Kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon fresh cracked pepper
1 cup panko bread crumbs
There is no need to peel the gold potatoes. However, if using sweet potatoes, you will need to peel. Slice potatoes thin – I use a mandolin
Place potatoes in boiling salted water (4 quarts water to 2 tablespoons salt), and boil until almost done but with a little bite to them. Do not cook them all the way – you are par cooking them. Drain and lay out on a baking sheet to cool
Put one-quart cream in heavy bottom pot, add diced shallots, salt and pepper – on medium heat, bring to a slight boil, turn down heat to medium low and simmer for approximately 30 minutes
Shred Gruyere cheese on a box grater – you will need 4 cups grated Gruyere cheese.
STEP FOUR – ASSEMBLING
Layer potatoes side-by-side in 9” X 12” baking dish until completely covered. You may over lap the potatoes slightly. Add 1 cup shredded Gruyere cheese over the top of this first layer.
Continue for 3 layers in this fashion. Add final 4th layer of potatoes, pour shallot cream over top and around the sides – if necessary, move the potatoes around with a knife or fork to help the shallots and cream settle into the potato mixture.
Top with cheese panko mixture.
STEP FIVE – BAKING
Place a piece of parchment paper on top, and a piece of aluminum foil on top of the parchment paper – crimp to seal tightly. Place in pre-heated 350 oven and bake for 45 minutes. Uncover and bake an addition 15 minutes until golden brown and bubbly.
Let sit for 20 minutes before serving. This is important for the cream to settle into the potatoes – keeping them from being too soupy.
NOTE: You will notice I did not say cover with “tin” foil – there is no tin in aluminum foil.
ROSEMARY & GARLIC CRUSTED LAMB CHOPS are so delicious they will make your tongue jump out and lick the eyebrows right off your head. Even those that don’t cotton to lamb will love the taste of these delightful chops. The key is the 12-hour marinade and our incredible Moroccan spice blend that we created.
I like my chops served with creamy polenta or oven roasted garlic mashed potatoes and fresh asparagus and a wedge of fresh lemon. Serve these delectable chops at your next dinner party and you’ll be a hit for years to come.
ROSEMARY & GARLIC CRUSTED LAMB CHOPS
2 to 4 racks lamb chops
4 tablespoons finely chopped rosemary
4 cloves finely chopped garlic
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoons black pepper
1 cup Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons Bailey’s Moroccan spice blend (see recipe below)
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
Put the above ingredients in a mixing bowl and whisk until well combined
Add slowly by whisking in:
1 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 cups vegetable oil
Cut lamb rack into double chops. Add double bone lamb chops to the marinade for a minimum of 12 hours. You can marinate an entire rack without cutting, but the flavor of the marinade is intensified if you cut the chops in two chop portions.
Pre-heat sauce pan (I like cast iron) on medium high heat, add a ladle (about a tablespoon) of clarified butter (or olive oil) and pan sear chops to get a caramelized crust on both sides – approximately 30 seconds to 1 minute on each side.
Place chops on sheet pan in 450 degree oven below the stove top and roast until it reaches a temperature of 130 degrees for medium rare, 145 for medium, and 155 for well done (please God no)…approximately 2 to 5 minutes. I want my chops medium rare – but at the most, medium.
MOROCCAN SPICE BLEND
Ok, ok – so this looks like a lot of ingredients. Well it is. But many of these you will have in your kitchen spice cabinet. I make a big batch and keep it for all sorts of things – goes great on chicken, seafood like shrimp, scallops, seabass, even pork, beef, and especially lamb. This rub is better than any you will find on the grocery shelf – but if you have to, go ahead and buy a Moroccan or Mediterranean mixture and use for the lamb chops above.
4 teaspoons salt
4 teaspoons sugar
8 teaspoons paprika
4 teaspoons cumin
4 teaspoons coriander
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon cayenne
3 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon kosher salt
3 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon sugar
6 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons paprika
3 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon ground cumin
3 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon ground coriander
2 1/2 teaspoons ground ginger
2 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 1/4 teaspoons cayenne
Make sure these are even measurements, and whisk them together well in a bowl.
Biscuits have been at the center of just about all my Sunday suppers for as far back as I can remember. I’ve created dozens of biscuit variations from sweet to savory…but these Cheddar Bacon Buttermilk Biscuits are always a hit – and they are really easy to make as well. The first rule in making biscuits is that you must always be gentle in the final mixing stage – for treating the dough too roughly after adding the wet ingredients will activate the gluten in the flour and make them like hockey pucks…way too tough. Treat the dough like a baby’s bottom and you’ll create of light and airy biscuit every time.
You can make these biscuits in miniature – cut in half and serve with country ham and cayenne peach preserves for a wonderful bar bite at your next cocktail party. Or fry up some buttermilk fried chicken and put it between one of these sliced large biscuits with some honey butter and you’ve got the perfect weekend picnic lunch everyone with dive for.
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon sugar
1 1/2 sticks cold butter (cut into small cubes)
8 slices crispy crumbled bacon (I prefer applewood smoked bacon)
1/2 cup Marburger Full Fat Gourmet Buttermilk (can be purchased at Publix)
Melted butter for tops of biscuits before and after baking
PREHEAT OVEN: 425 degrees
Place bacon on foil lined rimmed baking sheet and bake until crispy – place on paper towel. When cooled, crumble in to small pieces
Cut butter and keep cold. Crack egg into buttermilk and beat with a fork until well combined
Place all dry ingredients in food processor and pulse until combined. Add cold butter and pulse until butter is pea size. Pour into large mixing bowl and add the bacon and shredded cheddar cheese. Combine the cheese and bacon completely into the dry ingredients.
Make a well in the dry ingredients and pour in buttermilk and egg mixture. Using a dinner fork, “gently” mix together until it forms a ball. Be very sure to not over mix this dough. Just bring it together. Turn out onto a lightly floured board or surface. Gently pat out using your hands or a rolling pin – to about a ½” thickness.
Using a sharp edge biscuit cutter, cut out biscuits and place on a parchment lined baking sheet about an inch apart from each other. Brush with melted butter. Bake in the middle of the oven, for 16 to 20 minutes until golden brown, rotating sheet pan about half way through the baking process. When they come out of the oven – brush again with melted butter.
your taste buds will dance with delight with every bite of this Key Lime
cake…and I’m not kidding. Key limes are
so plentiful now, that I wanted to make something other than the ubiquitous key
lime pie. So, I went on a key lime cake
baking adventure this week.
LIME CAKE ATTEMPT #1:
I made a Leah Chase butter cake recipe in honor of the iconic New Orleans chef
who fed presidents and freedom fighters at her famed restaurant Dooky Chase. Chef Chase recently passed away at the ripe
old age of 96 – and she was working until just a few days before she died. I had the privilege of interviewing her on my
radio show a few years back – and even visited her kitchen in New Orleans. She was the best.
While I added key lime zest and juice to her cake – it wasn’t what I was looking for. So on to the next attempt.
LIME CAKE ATTEMPT # 2: Next, I thought about adding key lime zest and
juice to a pound cake would be a good flavor component – and I also decided to
create a key lime buttercream to frost the pound cake. I hated it.
The pound cake was good. The
icing was incredible. But I found that I
don’t like frosting on pound cakes. So
on to the next attempt to create a wonderful cake I would be proud to serve.
LIME CAKE ATTEMPT #3: The third time was the
charm. A doozy of a cake. It will be one of my all-time favorite cakes
to serve to family and friends. For
sure. The frosting was nailed, it only
needed the right cake to set it off. So,
I went back to my tried-and-true yellow butter cake – adding both lime zest and
fresh key lime juice. PERFECTION!!! It’s
so good, a train would take a dirt road just to get to a slice.
4 large eggs (room temperature)
1/2 cup whole milk (room temperature)
1/2 cup fresh key lime juice
3 cups cake or all-purpose flour (measure after sifting)
4 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 sticks salted butter
2 cups sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
4 teaspoons lime zest
oven to 350 degrees. Spray or butter and
flour 2 – 8” or 9” round cake pans. Don’t use 10” for they will make the layers
too thin. I always use parchment paper
to line the bottom of rounds and butter and flour those as well. But that is your preference.
flour and measure 3 cups after sifting.
Cream butter and sugar for about 5 minutes in your stand mixer. Hand mixers are ok – but they take a bit more
time. Add eggs one at a time, and mix
until each egg is totally incorporated before adding the other. After all eggs are incorporated beat on
medium speed for an additional 5 to 8 minutes until light and fluffy.
vanilla, to milk and key lime juice. Add
baking powder and salt to sifted flour.
Starting with flour, incorporate 1/3 and blend on a very low speed (or
even by hand) – it is important not to over mix flour for the cake will be
tough. You do not want to activate the
gluten in the flour. Add half the milk,
vanilla, and key lime mixture, gently blend, added 1/3 flour, then the
remaining liquid, then finish with flour. Stir with spatula until completely
incorporated – making sure you mix from the bottom up.
equal amounts of batter in the 2 pans.
Place on middle rack of preheated oven.
Set timer for 12 minutes. Rotate. Set timer for 15 minutes. I can’t tell you exactly how long they will
take to bake – for every oven is different.
You just don’t want to overbake.
The standard is when a toothpick comes out clean – but I like my
toothpick to have a bit of crumb to make sure it is not overbaked.
cakes on rack for 10 minutes. Turn out
with top sides up on the rack. Let cool
completely before frosting.
1-8 ounce package (Philadelphia cream cheese
1 1/2 stick salted butter (room temperature)
2 pounds plus one cup powdered sugar
1/3 cup fresh key lime juice (regular limes can be used if you cannot find key limes)
4 teaspoons lime zest
room temperature butter in stand mixer using the wire attachment until
creamy. Add powdered sugar, vanilla,
zest, and key lime juice. Slowly at first
– combine the ingredients. Mixing to
high will turn you into a sugar-coated mess.
After all is combined, vigorously beat until light and fluffy. If too thin, add more sugar – if too thick
add more lime juice. You want a
use about 2 cups in the middle layer.
Generously frost top and sides.
Best served the next day – or give it at least 6 hours to meld. Trust me on this one…the icing needs time to
seep into the cake.
KEY NOTES & VARIATIONS:
Always use fresh limes or lemons. For anything really – but especially this cake. Never, ever bottled. If you use bottled juice, I wil come to your kitchen and haunt you until the end of your days.
When key limes are not available, you can substitute fresh limes and it will be just as good. Matter of fact, I use regular limes, for key limes are just too small to zest.
You can make this cake with fresh lemons as well – and it will be just as incredible. Always use fresh.
MY CULINARY CREATIVE PROCESS
ask what I did with the cakes I didn’t like.
If I don’t like something – they never see the light of day. The rejects go immediately to my friend and
co-worker Rosario, who’s family waits for my castoffs.
any new dish I create for catering or for a particular restaurant I consult
with, there are usually many attempts to get to the perfect creation – the
perfect dish if you will. A pinch here,
a dash there – a completely different ingredient altogether. You would be surprised at how many attempts
go into creating the final product we are excited about serving. And even then, after all is said and done –
we are always adjusting.
(rarely), we get it the way we want it the first time – but it usually takes a
good bit of finesse. And that is the
fun aspect of cooking and creating a great dish.
Corn on the cob may be one of those delights that is truly a favorite in the summer. When I was growing up, my mom would boil a big pot of water, throw a little salt in the water and boil the fresh corn for exactly 11 minutes. She would put butter and salt on the table and we would “have-at-it.”
Later on in life, I learned from a number of corn farmers that corn should not cook for than 4 to 5 minutes max. I also found a better way to cook corn that boiling. You see, when you boil corn, much of the corn flavor leaches from the corn and stays in the water.
My fool proof method to cook corn for maximum flavor is to put each shucked and cleaned cob in a Pyrex dish (I use a 10” pie plate), add 2 tablespoons salted butter for each cob, and 1 tablespoon (total, even if you have multiple ears) of water.
Cover tightly with plastic wrap and place in the microwave for 4 minutes exactly. Yes, only 4 minutes. Let stand for 1 minute – then carefully remove the plastic wrap – again, be careful for a good bit of very hot steam will escape initially. Add salt to taste, and repeatedly dip in the melted butter after each bite. Spread on more soft butter if desired. It is that simple, and no great corn flavor will escape into that proverbial pot of boiling water.
Herbed Butter: Salted butter mixed with any fined chopped herb you like: parsley, basil, rosemary, thyme, dill, mint – (mix and match to your desired taste) it is all good. Spread herbed butter on before cooked, and after. Of course, salt to taste, Chipotle Butter: 1 stick salted butter, add a tablespoon of minced chipotle in adobo sauce, ½ teaspoon chili powder, ¼ teaspoon garlic powder, spread on corn and grill. Top with more chipotle butter, finely chopped fresh cilantro, and sprinkle about a tablespoon of Cotija cheese on top, and a squeeze of fresh lime – WOW!!! Garlic, Butter, Mayo, Sriracha dusted with freshly grated Parmesan Cheese: 1 stick soft salted butter, 2 tablespoon Hellmann’s mayo, 2 teaspoons finely chopped garlic, 2 teaspoons sriracha powder – slather hot cooked cop with as much of this heavenly mixture as desired – sprinkle with freshly grated parmesan cheese.
Of course, creamed corn goes well with any southern dinner. With a sharp knife, remove the corn from 10 ears of corn – make sure you run the dull back edge of the knife down every cob after the corn is removed so you get all the starchy milky goodness from the cob. You should get about 6 to 7 cups of corn off of 10 ears – depending on the size of the cob.
Melt one to two stick(s) of butter (I like lots of butter) in a skillet on medium heat, add 1 to 2 tablespoon flour (respectively) – cook down until the flour has no flour taste – about 2 to 3 minutes. Add corn, stir, add 1 to 2 cup(s) heavy cream (or half and half) – bring to light simmer stirring constantly. Add salt and freshly cracked pepper to taste.
When you go to Fraizer Farms – make sure to have breakfast or lunch at the Florida Cracker Kitchen. All good homemade cracker cookin’, and you will thank me for the recommendation. Make sure you pick up a bottle of their green or red pepper sauce – green is my favorite – but they are both good.
If you want the sweetest corn on earth – Fraizer Farms is the place to go. I’ve been getting my corn there every May and October for many years. They will only be open for another 8 to 10 days so you better take the trek to Brooksville now. It is well worth the hour drive from Tampa.
I got 4 bushels of white corn last week (to cut off the cob and freeze) – and plan on getting a bushel of yellow early next. You may have guessed, I like corn. They have lots of other fresh vegetables as well. I bring my dog and walk around.
Fraizer Farms 20175 Manecke Road Brooksville, Florida 34801 (352) 796-0823 Go to Their Facebook Page for Updates Monday through Friday: 10am to 5pm Saturday: 10am to 2pm Closed Sunday’s