Archive for ‘Uncategorized’
June 07, 2017
As summer’s rain cascades against my kitchen window, tomato soup and garlic parmesan crostini’s are the perfect pick for dinner tonight. My nieces Blaine and Brittany say this is one of their favorite soups we make at Bailey’s. It takes no time to make – and you’ll love the rich flavor.
While my mom (who was from Boston) was an expert chowder maker, I don’t think she ever made us kids homemade tomato soup. Her tomato soup of choice was always a can of Campbell’s made with milk – and it always tasted good to us – especially with a grilled cheese sandwich. But if you want a soup that is so much better – homemade is definitely the way to go.
TOMATO SOUP VARIATIONS
Know too that I make a lot of different kinds of tomato soups and bisques but the recipe below is a really good one that can be made quick. Below are some variations to make my original soup recipe more complex overall – but for you soup lovers, begin with this recipe and play around later with what might tempt your taste buds.
- Add one cup each chopped celery (including the leaves) and carrots to the onion and shallot mixture – it gives it an extra dimension that is always good
- Start with a couple slices of chopped Applewood smoked bacon to begin the onion (vegetable) saute process is great as well
- Instead of using canned tomatoes, toss quartered whole tomatoes in extra virgin olive oil, salt and pepper, and roast in a hot 450 oven for about 15 to 20 minutes
TOMATO SOUP RECIPE
- 1 cup finely chopped sweet onion (Vidalia is perfect – but whatever you have in your pantry)
- 2 tablespoons finely chopped shallots
- ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 1 stick salted butter
- 2 large 28 ounce cans crushed Hunts tomatoes
- 1 ½ teaspoons salt
- ¼ cup sugar
- 1 ½ cups heavy cream
- ¼ cup chopped fresh basil
Melt butter in heavy bottom pot. Add onions, shallots, and red pepper flakes and sauté on medium low heat until very soft and mushy. Add tomatoes, salt, sugar, and bring to a hot simmer on medium heat and cook down covered for 30 to 45 minutes – stirring occasionally to make sure it does not stick on bottom. After soup is cooked put small batches in Cuisinart (food processor), or blender and blend until smooth. An immersion hand-held blender is perfect for blending this soup. Know too, that if you want texture in your soup – no blending is necessary.
Add heavy cream. Ladle hot soup into bowl(s) and top with 1 tablespoon fresh chopped basil and parmesan garlic crostini.
GARLIC PARMESAN CROSTINI
You will find these crostini’s a “go-to” for many dishes. In addition to wonderful crostini’s, this mixture makes awesome garlic bread for just about any dish you can think of – especially Italian. Perfect on any type of bread like Cuban – just cut bread baguette in half and liberally spread mixture on top – broil or bake until golden brown.
- 2 sticks (1/2 pound) room temperature salted butter
- 1 cup freshly grated fine Parmesan OR Romano cheese
- ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 1 ½ teaspoons garlic powder
- 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh parsley
- A good French baguette (sliced ¼” thick on the bias)
Combine all ingredients (except for the bread) in a mixer and whip until well combined – about a minute or two. Liberally spread on baguette slices. Place on baking sheet and bake at 350 degrees for 10 minutes until golden brown.
May 25, 2017
If you have been to Restaurant BT on MacDill across from DATZ, you will love the fast carry-out of BT’s incredible affordable Vietnamese food at BT-ToGo – also on MacDill, across Bay-To-Bay in a quaint shopping Plaza. BT Nguyen is one of my favorite chefs and while I was at the restaurant recently she asked if I’d been to BT ToGo??? The next day I was there.
You will find pork banh mi’s, beef & rice bowls, fresh stuffed rice paper rolls, curry chicken stew, and of course many of your Restaurant BT notables like her pumpkin soup and chocolate mousse.
When you want a great meal FAST – dash on over to BT To-Go
3215 South MacDill Avenue
Tampa, Florida 33629
Monday – Saturday: 11:00am to 8:00pm
May 25, 2017
Your guests will be enthralled with your homemade limoncello. Plus, in addition to being a wonderful aperitif or after dinner drink, so many wonderful desserts can be made with limoncello. So why not have some fun and make your own. The only downside is that it takes 8 days for all the flavors to meld properly – but it will be worth the wait I assure you.
A couple years ago I created a Limoncello Mousse Cake that was a true hit, and even created a video with my good friend Susan Merrill – click here to view the video and get the recipe.
I desire a real lemony flavor so I found that 14 lemons are the perfect amount for a robust citrusy taste
- 14 large lemons
- 1 liter fine vodka – (I like Tito’s Handmade Vodka)
- 3 cups sugar
- 3 ½ cups FIJI water
- With tap water, thoroughly rinse 14 lemons and dry completely
- Using a vegetable/potato peeler, peel the yellow rind off 7 lemons, being careful not to get any of the white part
- Zest the remaining 7 lemons with a zester, again making sure not to get any of the white rind
- Mix the peeled lemon rind and lemon zest together with 1 liter of Vodka – store in air tight container in dry cool place (not the refrigerator) for 7 days
NOTE: It is important to be exact with your peeler and zester and not get any of the white pithy part with your rind – so be careful or your limoncello will taste bitter. There are many different zesters you can use. The reason I recommend peeling half with a vegetable/potato peeler, and the other half with a zester – is the potato peeler provides a less pungent aromatic, while the zest gives off a really zesty component – which is why it is called a zester.
- After the lemon vodka mixture has melded for 7 days, combine 3 cups sugar with 3 ½ cups FIJI water in a sauce pan, off heat stir to combine, on medium high heat bring to a simmer for approximately 10 to 12 minutes making sure all the sugar has been dissolved. Do not stir while heating or it will crystalize.
- Let cool completely and add to the lemon vodka mixture
- Cover tightly and let sit for 24 hours.
- Strain in a fine mesh strainer into containers. Store tightly covered in refrigerator
STEP FOUR – SERVING
- ½ cup sugar
- 1 tablespoon lemon zest
- Combine sugar and zest – rub lemon around edge of small glass, dip edge in lemon sugar – fill with your “ICE COLD” homemade limoncello, garnish side with lemon peel
May 11, 2017
This small non-descript 12 seat, ten menu item restaurant packs a big tasty punch you should not miss. Anytime I find a gem like this I almost don’t want to tell anyone so I can keep it all to myself. Chef William is Italian through-and-through making everything from scratch including the pasta; and you will be delighted with his offerings all for $9.95 each (he needs to raise his prices) – except for the couple of specials he runs daily.
I love to see artisans who care about what do and Chef William shows his love of craft by the quality of the food he puts on your plate. The Bolognese was stupendous, meatballs excellent, primavera and carbonara perfect. Tiramisu was spot on as well.
This “no-frills” eatery is tops. Let me know what you think.
Piccola Italia Bistro
2140 West Doctor MLK, Jr. Boulevard
Tampa, Florida 33607
NEAR: Armenia & MLK
May 05, 2017
This may be my favorite way to eat shrimp. The New Orleans style sauce is not like a typical BBQ sauce you will find on ribs – but a buttery, garlicy, sauce with loads of flavor. I developed this recipe and it is always a hit every time it is served. It is good on its own – and especially tasty on top of some creamy grits. My favorite way is to eat it with a hunk of good quality (Pane Rustica) French baguette – oven warmed and crusty.
Once the compound butter is made, this is the fastest recipe in the world to prepare – and even good over your favorite pasta.
STEP ONE – MAKE COMPOUND BUTTER
NOTE: Can be made a month in advanced and stored in air tight container in the refrigerator
- 1 pound room temperature salted butter
- 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste
- ¼ cup chopped garlic
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- 1 tablespoon Tony Chachere’s (or your favorite Cajun spice blend)
- 1/3 cup chopped scallions
- 1 tablespoon fresh thyme
- ½ cup finely chopped bacon (optional – especially good with grits and the shrimp)
Put all ingredients in an electric mixer with the paddle attachment. Whip at high speed until well combined.
- In a skillet on medium high heat, add 1 tablespoon salted butter with 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil (EVOO)
- Once the butter is melted and very hot (not brown), toss in one pound of 16/20 peeled and deveined shrimp – tail can be left on or off
- Sautee for 30 seconds and turn
- Immediately add ¼ cup chardonnay to the pan
- Toss in ½ cup soft compound butter – stir until shrimp are cooked (30 seconds to 1 minute)
- Put on plate, sprinkle with chopped parsley, serve with crusty warm French baguette slice
November 05, 2015
On many a cool November night arriving home from Wilson Jr. High’s football practice, my mom (who was from Boston) would have this delicious corn chowder ready for me to gobble down. Sometimes she would serve it with a toasty grilled cheese sandwich, or with saltine crackers topped with ice cold butter.
My good friend Phyllis Draughon asked me for the recipe a couple of weeks ago – so here it is.
- 6 slices bacon, diced
- 1 large medium onion
- 2 sticks salted butter
- ½ cup all-purpose flour
- 1 quart whole milk
- 1 quart half & half
- 3 cans creamed corn
- 3 cans kernel corn (drained)
- ¼ cup sugar
- 6 medium-sized red potatoes (peeled, cubed in small chunks, boiled in salted water until done)
- Salt & Pepper to taste – start with 1 teaspoon salt and ½ teaspoon black pepper
In a large heavy saucepan, fry bacon until crispy. Add chopped onions and butter, and cook until the onions are very soft and translucent. Add the flour and constantly stir until a light brown roux develops and the flour is completely cooked.
On medium high heat add 2 cups of milk and cream at a time stirring constantly (make sure the milk does not scorch) until it thickens slightly. Add corn (make sure whole kernel corn is drained), sugar, cooked potatoes, and salt and pepper to taste.
Bring almost to a boil, but under no circumstances let it boil or it will curdle. Turn off, let cool completely, then reheat and serve. This is even better made a day in advance.
Crab Corn Chowder
Crab totally compliments a corn chowder. Melt 1 tablespoon butter in a saucepan. Add 1 cup jumbo lump crab, light stir until the crab is heated through. You do not want to cook the crab. Be sure to keep the lumps whole.
Place 2 tablespoons of the warm crab on top in the middle of each bowl of chowder. Sprinkle with finely chopped parsley.
Smooth & Creamy Corn Chowder
Sometimes I want a smooth and creamy chowder. If you want no texture to your chowder, all you need to do is mix it with a hand held (immersion) blender. Or put 2 cup batches in you food processor and blend until smooth. You can even strain it after processed to get an even silkier texture.
July 29, 2015
If you want something really good, “run” over to Alessi Bakery for their new seafood basket; loaded with crispy fried shrimp, scallops, homemade devil crabs, and hand-cut fries, a real bargain for only $12.95. Tell Phil Alessi he’s got a hit on his hands.
2909 West Cypress Street
Tampa (813) 879-4544
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.
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.