You can't go wrong

It seemed like everywhere I looked I saw a picture or heard someone referencing the classic French salad, Frisée Aux Lardons. Since there’s nothing more pleasing to my palate than eggs and bacon I figured I would recreate a version of the classic salad.

It was getting close to lunch time so I packed my bag and headed home anticipating the sweet smoky aroma of a thick strip of bacon frying in a hot pan. I couldn’t wait to get in my kitchen so that I could get to work on my salad.

When I get to the kitchen I put a pot of water on for the egg and heat up a separate pan for the bacon. My pots and pans are on and it’s time for me to get into the fridge. I open the door and notice there is an open bottle of white wine from the night before. What would you do? Would you pour yourself a glass or save it for later? Well, I couldn’t resist. I poured myself a glass and it was just as light, crisp, and, as enjoyable as the night before.

A couple of sips of wine and I’m ready to create my version of Frisée Aux Lardons

All Recipes-
Yield 1-2

1 T white vinegar
1 thick-cut strip of bacon, cut into cubes
1 small tomato, sliced
¼ bag of mixed greens
2 T red wine vinegar
1 large grade AA
¼ cup of grated parmesan

Add the white vinegar to a pot of simmering water and continue simmering. Place the cubes of bacon into a medium heated pan and fry until the cubes have formed a crispy border. On low broil put the tomato slices on a baking sheet, use a silicon mat, and broil until it’s time to plate. In the meantime wash and dry the mixed greens, plate and set aside. Drain the bacon and add the red wine vinegar to the same pan on low. This will be used as the dressing for the greens.

From a ramekin, slide the egg into the simmering water for about 3 minutes. While the egg is poaching take a ¼ cup of parmesan and add it to the pan with the tomato slices on high for 1-2 minute; until the parmesan forms a crispy disc. With a slotted spoon take out and pat dry the egg. Give the bacon and vinegar pan a couple of swirls and lightly coat the greens and plate the other ingredients on top in whatever order you prefer. You can’t go wrong.

Comfort Foods

I couldn't have picked a better night to put my oven to use. I had fresh tomatoes, it was Friday, and I had a long week at work. Sounds like a good time to turn on my oven, even though it was over 100° outside, and indulge in comfort food.

Comfort foods for me are packed with proteins and carbs. It should be hearty with complexed aromas, and, balanced with contrasting flavors and textures. My pan roasted chicken, risotto with peas and lemon zest, roasted garlic and tomatoes, and a skillet chocolate chip cookie with vanilla bean ice cream is just that. Comfortly Delicious!

All Recipes-
Yield 2-3

Roasted Tomatoes 2-3 hours roasting time.
2 heirloom tomatoes
1 clove of garlic
1 T kosher salt
A couple of turns on the pepper mill
Drizzle of olive oil

Preheat the oven to 375°. Cut the top of the tomatoes off and slice them in half. Put them in a bowl with the rest of the ingredients and toss gently. Place the ingredients on a pan that’s lined with parchment paper. Cook for 15-20 minutes. Turn down the oven to 250° and flip the tomatoes, drain the juices (or transfer to a fresh sheet of parchment) and continue to cook for an hour. Repeat one more time and cook until they are fully caramelized, another 30 minutes to an hour.

Risotto with Peas and Lemon Zest
2 C of Chicken Broth
1 T Butter
½ Shallot Minced
2 T White Wine
¼ C Arborio Rice
Handful of Peas
Heavy Pinch of Parmesan

Bring the broth to a simmer. Heat another pan on medium heat and melt the butter. Once the butter has melted sweat the shallots and add the wine. As soon as you smell the wine add the rice. Let the rice absorb the liquid before you add the first ladle of simmering broth. In steps, add a ladle of liquid only after the rice as absorbed the previous addition. It takes patience but a good creamy and firm risotto is worth it. With one or two ladles of liquid left add the blanched peas and lemon zest. After the last bit of liquid is absorbed add the parmesan. Season to taste.

Pan Roasted Chicken
2 T Butter
Salt and Pepper
Sprinkle of Cayenne

Oven 375°

Tightly wrap each seasoned chicken breast with saran wrap and put it in a simmering pot of water for 15-20 minutes (Sous Vide). This keeps the chicken moist and crispy. Heat an oven proof pan on medium heat and melt 1 T of butter. Place the chicken breast in the hot pan and brown the presentation side of the breast for three minutes without disturbing it. The breast is ready when it slides easily in the pan. Flip the breast and brown for another 3 minutes. Take the pan off the heat, flip the breast, add 1 T of butter and put in the oven for another 6-8 minutes. Remember that the chicken will cook another 5-10 degrees when you take it out of the oven.

Skillet Cookie
1/2 C butter flavor shortening (1 stick)
3/8 C granulated sugar
3/8 C brown sugar
½ tsp Vanilla
1 Large Egg
1 1/8 C Unbleached All Purpose Flour
½ tsp Salt
½ tsp Baking Soda
6-8 oz Semi-Sweet Chocolate Morsels

2-Scoops of Vanilla Bean Ice cream

Oven at 375°

In a small bowl, mix flour, salt and baking soda together. In a larger mixing bowl (or stand mixer), cream the shortening and the sugars on medium speed for at least three minutes. Add the vanilla then the egg, mix until fully incorporated. Add 1/3 of the dry ingredients and continue to mix until incorporated. Add the other thirds, one at a time. Once the wet and dry ingredients are fully incorporated stir in the chocolate chips. This amount will fill two 6inch cast iron skillets with some dough extra to enjoy while they bake or about a dozen 2 oz cookies using a # 20 disher. Bake the skillets at 16-18 minutes or 10-12 minutes for the 2 oz cookies.

HK’s Finale

Is it just me or did HK’s season finale turn out as bad as eating an over cooked egg. I’ve watched HK for a long time now, not my favorite but it's somewhat worthy to watch, and have never been so disappointed by the outcome. I secretly enjoy the way Ramsay verbally abuses-it’s a treat when he breaks things-those so called chefs. Here’s the link to see the WRATH OF RAMSAY.

I’m not a movie producer or a screen writer, I would be lucky if I could entertain a group of 1st graders, I am, however, becoming an expert on eggs. To maximize flavors and aromas and to have a deeper understanding of what the essence of ingredients are I reference: CIA’s-The Professional Chef, Escoffier-Cookbook and Guide to the Fine Art of Cookery, and, my most recent and one of my favorites, McGee-On Food and Cooking.

I’ve studied eggs for a while now. They are one of the most common and basic ingredients I cook with but at the same time one of the most impressive and dynamic. If prepared correctly the fragile little gems can be transformed into an airy and sweet meringue or a dense savory custard. Eggs are amazing!

I can’t change the outcome of HK but I can help you make an egg that is better than the show's finale.

Egg more praiseworthy than HK's outcome
1 Large Grade AA
1 T Butter
2 T Clarified butter

To make a really good egg takes time and patience. The first thing you want to do is heat your pan on low-medium heat for at least five minutes. Then take a tablespoon of clarified butter and heat that up in the pan for another couple of minutes. While that’s heating up put your large Grade AA egg in a small ramekin-this allows you to slide the egg in the hot pan without disturbing the yolk. The egg should be left alone while the whites firm up. *If the whites start to sizzle remove the pan from the heat. You do not want the whites to have any craters, browning, or to be crispy. After the whites have time to set, about a minute or so, take a tablespoon of clarified butter and gently spoon over the top of the egg and baste the top with the clarified butter until it looks like this…...

You have to start somewhere

Whether you believe the chicken came before the egg or vice versa it is a fact that one or other had to start somehow and somewhere. So, I’ve decided that I’m going to give this blog thing a try.

I’m not sure if there’s a format that I have to follow so until someone asks me, what the hell I’m doing or writing, I’m just going to write. If you're interested in my blog then you should probably know a little bit about me and what my blog will be about.

I’ve been in the kitchen since I could remember. I was raised by my mom, who was one of five sisters, that had southern values. She believed that if you didn’t help make the meal then you clean up after. The thought of cleaning up after my big brother, who was four years older, was bad enough that I didn’t care what I had to do to help so that I didn’t have to clean up after him.

I didn’t care if my brother was teasing me for, what he thought was crying, when I sliced onions or having nightmares for at least a year of being attacked by a flock of ducks. Still to this day I think I would have nightmares if I were to pluck feathers from a dead duck. The teasing and the nightmares were worth it because it was my brother who had to clean up after me and not vice versa. So, Big Brother, HA!

Being in the kitchen is where I belong, it’s where I’m the happiest, it’s where I can do things my way, it’s a place to be creative, a place to experiment, a place for memories, and a place to bring others together. I hope that you will use my blog as a reference for classic recipes, techniques, and, creative dishes. Most importantly I hope my blog will bring as much joy into your life as is in mine. The kitchen, my home, my sanctuary….