Tuesday, November 25, 2014

She turned out OK!

She turned out OK!

well, after 13 years of investing time and money into this pipe dream, it finally happen. I had my first meal at my daughter's place last night!

All those quick lessons about use good ingredients, cook food properly witha thermometer, seasoning things properly is a must, timing your whole meal is also a must, take time to make it look nice...wow, honestly some days I did not think that it would ever happen, this daughter of mine had her ups and down with food... But last night we stopped at her house for a sit down dinner and I was very proud, very impress and certainly very happy to see that it had sunk in her little 8 years old brain more than I could have ever dreamed of...

We showed up and I recognize the kitchen set up right away... things were ready to go on the counter, pots on the stove, trays with food ready to go in the oven, a real amateur chef who paid attention. She made a nice salmon with a pesto lemon and parmesan topping baked in the oven, nice potatoes baked with bell peppers, steam broccolini, and a fun spinach salad with strawberries, cranberries, walnut and goat cheese. Then for dessert she made a vanilla crème brulée with a vanilla bean and a few coconut macaroon cookies with a little drizzle of chocolate on top, awesome finish to a great evening. She did not try to reinvent the wheel, she did a great meal she knew how to do well and had practice before. I am glad she paid attention when it was time, a real pro!

I see so many people not able to cook a simple meal mostly because they don't apply themselves as much on details like seasoning or timing or because they don't really stop to think about how the whole thing will come out at the end. They may cook the fish 30 minutes ahead then let the fish sit there for another 15 minutes because the potatoes were not put in the oven soon enough, then the fish gets cold. I see people not able to understand what dressing would go well with certain salads, or how much to put in or how to add a little something to make it fun! Most vegetables should be done at the last minute and not cooked to death if at all possible leaving texture to chew on so they still taste the way they should and not feel like baby food in your mouth. Take the time to teach your kids the value of a nicely cooked meal, the importance of eating good food cooked properly, one day you'll be at their house for dinner and you may wish you did put in the time. Let's face it, it's very unlikely they'll become a soccer star or a ballerina or the next American Idol but they will need to eat for the rest of their lives so it's a good skill to carry as they finally leave home.

Not my daughter, she performed beautifully. Last night Chloae was the daughter of a chef, a proud chef, a chef with a look to the future for his next meal at his favorite Hana Banana's house!

love papa xoxo

Monday, February 25, 2013

Jamaica Curry Goat (lamb)

This is a great dish to bring back memories of a great holiday.
If you are not sure about how much heat you can take or your guests can take, start with half a Scotch bonnet and taste it once it is finished... you can always serve your dish with a Jamaican hot sauce on the side. Beef can always be used if you are one of those difficult people.

1.2 kilo goat or lamb meat (leg meat bone-out & cut it into cubes)
1 large onion, finely chop
1 carrot, finely chop
cloves garlic, crush
4 scallions (green onions), finely chop
1 scotch bonnet or habanero pepper, remove the seeds, finely chop
3 tbsp Jamaican curry powder (or madras powder)
2 cups tomato sauce
3 to 4 cups water
1 large yam, chop in cubes same size as meat
Salt and Pepper 

In a large pan, Dutch oven or pot with a touch of oil, on high heat brown the meat on all sides then remove and set aside.
In the same hot pan at medium heat, add the onions cook until soft then add your garlic and cook until it starts to brown, then add the curry powder and let it roast a little at the bottom of your pan.
Add browned meat, carrots, scallions, Scotch bonnet peppers, tomato sauce, 3 cup water, some salt and pepper. Scratch the bottom to remove all the good stuff and flavour your liquid.
Bring the mixture to a boil, then turn down the heat, cover the pot partially and simmer very low for 2 or 3 hours. After about two hours add your yam, do not cover your pot any more and continue to cook slowly until the meat starts to be tender.
Check for salt and pepper one last time before serving.
I like to serve it with a rice, and some stir fried julienne vegetables including a few pieces of sauteed plantain to add some sweetness.

Try this for dessert:http://www.happygourmand.wordpress.com/recipe-archives/pineapple-upside-down-cake/

Monday, January 21, 2013

Braised Beef Short in Guinness

feed 6 to 8 people
3 to 4 pieces bone-in and boneless short ribs per person, cut into same size

3 tablespoons olive oil

Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper

1/2 cup buckwheat flour

1 medium yellow onion, halved and thinly sliced

3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced

3 to 4 carrots

12 to 15 mushrooms

2 large cans Guinness, 1 bottle light beer

1 liter beef stock

1 rosemary sprigs, 2 sprigs of thyme

2 cups cipollini onions or pearl onions, peeled



  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Season short ribs with salt and pepper.
  2. Heat oil in a large pot or Dutch oven over high heat. Working in batches, brown short ribs, about 2 minute per side, transfer to a large metal tray using kitchen tongs and set aside.
  3. Once your done with the ribs, in your pot or Dutch oven over at medium heat sweat the yellow onion, then the garlic. 
  4. Add your short brown ribs and half the carrots back in your pot, dredge short ribs with flour, coating all sides, add all the beer and beef stock bring to a simmer.
  5. Add rosemary, thyme a touch of salt and pepper, place in the oven  no cover for 3 1/2 hours.
  6. Roast the cipollini onions on a tray with a touch of olive oil then set aside.
  7.  Every hour or so, remove you Dutch oven from oven, and give it a stir.
  8.  After about 2 hours add the rest of the carrots and the mushrooms...continue to braise for about another hour and a half or so until meat is almost tender.
  9.  Once the meat is almost fully cooked to tender, remove the meat cubes from the sauce and place on a baking sheet and place the baking sheet in the oven on the top shelf for about 30 minutes
  10.  Place you pot on the stove top, bring to a boil and let reduce for about 30 minutes or until it becomes just the right thickness.  Remove the meat cubes from the oven and place back into the sauce which is now perfect texture.
  11.  Add your cipollini onions and season with salt and pepper.
  12.  Serve warm with mashed potatoes and Brussels sprouts

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Roasted Pecan Caramel Cinnamon Sticky Buns

This is easy to do and really good to eat...
The Dough

·         1 (8g) package quick rise instant yeast

·         1/4 cup white sugar

·         1 teaspoon salt

·         1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

·         1/2 cup warm water

·         1/2 cup + 3 TBSP warm milk

·         1 tablespoons vanilla

·         1 egg

·         1/3 cup unsalted butter, softened

·         4 cups all-purpose unbleached flour

·         Nonstick cooking spray

The Filling

·         3/4 cup brown sugar

·         4 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon (good quality)

·         1/2 teaspoon ginger

·         1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

·         1/2 cup finely chopped roasted pecan

·         6 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature

The Topping

·         1 cup unsalted butter

·         2 cups packed brown sugar

·         7 tablespoons dark corn syrup

·         2 cups pecan halves, chopped or crushed

·         1 tablespoons vanilla

·         3 tablespoons Captain Morgan spiced rum (optional)


1.      Roast pecan 2 1/2 cups of pecan for about 7 to 8 minutes, set aside.

2.      In a large electric mixer bowl using your dough hook, combine yeast with 1 1/3 cups flour, sugar and salt. Stir in very warm milk and water. Add egg, butter and the remaining flour. Mix at medium to low speed until smooth and elastic for about 4 to 5 minutes adding a little more flour or liquid if needed, cover with plastic wrap and let rest for 10 minutes.

3.      Meanwhile, prepare the caramel topping by melting 1 cup butter in a saucepan. Stir in corn syrup, brown sugar, rum and vanilla. Cook until sugar is just dissolved. Pour into a 9X13 inch baking pan. Spread 2 cups halves pecans evenly over the caramel sauce mixture. Set aside.

4.      Prepare the filling by combining 1/2 cup roasted finely chopped pecan, brown sugar, cinnamon, ginger and nut meg. Set aside. On a lightly floured work surface, roll out dough to a 12X18 inch rectangle. Spread butter everywhere over dough and sprinkle with sugar-cinnamon mixture and do not forget to sprinkle the edges. Roll dough into a cylinder. Brush rolled dough with butter. Using a sharp knife cut dough into 8 large rolls or 12 smaller rolls and place in the prepared pan. Cover with a dish towel and let rise for 1 hour or until your pan looks full.

5.      Preheat oven to 375 °F. Place pan on a baking tray (to catch drippings from sides of pan) and put into the oven. Bake buns for 30 minutes or until golden. Remove pan from oven and immediately invert pan onto a serving tray.

6.      Eat Warm or the next day.


This recipe was adapted from Liza adaptation, which she adapted from Mark McGough as featured in “The Martha Stewart Show”.

Nothing against handmade, but I do have electricity, so why not use it and since I prefer mine with a bit more sticky sauce and a touch more flavor punch. I have adjusted the recipe for an electric Kitchen Aid mixer.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Can't decide if I should make those Chocolate Cookies

To make or not to make...

These are really nice cookies, soft, chewy and chocolaty, but honestly I really don't care whether you make them or not. I like them and that's what counts. It took me about 6 minutes to mix and 10-12 minutes to cook... perfect to fix a craving... but again make them or don't make them, whatever :)

For all of you (Craig) that do not have a scale, well, too bad! splurge the $15 and buy one... or then again I don't care.

I guess if you are going to make them should probably look for those ingredients...

165 g golden brown sugar
125 g butter

1 tsp vanilla
1 egg

140 g flour
50 g cocoa powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
pinch of salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon

175 g Belgian chocolate, chopped small

Since you got all the stuff, you may as well mix it all together... so start by fluffing the butter and sugar together until pale looking, kind of like if you just saw Elvis in your soup bowl.

Add the vanilla and egg, mix for 20 seconds, or 2 times 10 seconds should be ok.

Add the dry ingredients at high speed and back away cause all that stuff will fly all over the place... or just do on slow speed instead so it does not make a huge mess and the dough doesn't end up over mixed and tough. Whatever... :)

Add the chocolate using a spatula or some other ugly tool you may have!

You can bake them at 400F if you want to burn them, but it is much better at 350F in the oven for abut 10-18 minutes depending on how you like your cookies. I like 12 minutes, nice and chewy.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Between a ramekin and a square

Just my two cents...a month ago or so we had some friends over for dinner and a conversation started from one of our guests saying why is everything in menus about a ramekin or an infusion or a foam?

It's true sometimes from a non- foodie's perspective looking inside our industry it can get a touch snobbish...and yes often it can get a bit much to hear certain words over and over on menus to describe simple things...but it is what it is...

Can we meet half way people?

Because I go to people's home every other day I see what people eat, I see their fridge and pantry and from a foodie looking inside, I also have an issue with some of the stuff I see but it is what it is... One thing that really gets me laughing is when I read a recipe in a magazine that says 2 square of chocolates. Really, in today's world where we can get oranges from South Africa and Avocado from |Chili, you mean to tell me that 2 squares of chocolate is what I need to make these quote: "Incredible Delicious Espresso Brownies" why in the world is this product still on the market... if you want to make incredible anything I would suggest you start by buying good quality chocolate and get rid of your Bakers... try Barry-Callebaut-or Lindts, or any other world renown producer in your area... Bakers was at one point a staple item in my mom's kitchen, but now there is so much better out there and not really much more money, so splurge and get outside your comfort zone.


Friday, January 20, 2012

Simple Rustic Bread Recipe

I am inside all day making bread waiting for the outsite temperature to rise a touch more...

Making bread is a really a “back to basic” kind of thing to do. My mother in law is having surgery and getting a new hip on Monday, so I will bring her a loaf of bread for when she comes out of the hospital.  

This is my recipe:

Day one: mix together one package of dry yeast, one cup of unbleached flour and one cup of water. Let the goopy mushy dough rest in a cool area for one day.

Day two: add half a cup of flour and a touch of water to make the dough absorb the flour.  Let it rest one more day.

Day three: place your goopy/mushy dough into a good size mixer with 4 cups of flour, 1/2 cup of wheat germ, 1/3 cup corn flour, 3 tbsp good olive oil and enough water to make a firm dough (between one and two cups) Mix for about 4 minutes as fast as your mixer will take without breaking it, stop the mixer and leave your dough in it. Wait 10 minutes and add 2 tsp sea salt and mix 5 more minutes. On your table, your dough needs to be kneed for one minute or until you press your finger in your dough and the print bounce back right away. Oil a bowl and leave your dough cover with a plastic bag and wet towel until it doubles in size.
Place your dough on your table and work it into the shape you want or in the pan you want. Let it rise double again. Just so you know, freestyle shaping bread is the hard part, and to consistently get the perfect looking loaf it will most likely take you a few months to get better at it. By using a pan you avoid that learning process and get a nice loaf each time. You can also use YouTube to see how other people shape their dough.

Bake in a 425F oven middle rack for about 45 to 55 minutes depending on the shape you chose. Your bread is cooked when you remove it from the oven and if you tap the bottom of your loaf it sounds kinda empty or hollow.

Eat whenever you want.