Tag Archives: cooking

A Day With Chef Rene

th[8]The studio lights shined brightly on a newly equipped and up-to-date kitchen. It was the first episode of a new TV food program, A Day With Chef Rene. The host was Car Bumgard who had hosted several other flops.

“Chef Rene we are so proud to have you with us today, our first episode of A Day With Chef Rene.” Carl said. “As you can see the kitchen is all set and we are ready for you to create.”

“It is my pleasure to be here before your television audience,” Chef Rene said with a slight French accent.

“Before you begin, perhaps I can inform the viewing audience of your background,” Carl said.

“It is you program,” Chef Rene said.

“Not really,“ Carl said out of the side of mouth and continued. “Chef Rene learned the art and craft of food preparation from his father, grandfather, and great-grandfather, all world renowned chefs. Chef Rene graduated from the French School of Culinary Arts in Paris, he has authored over twenty books on cuisine, he is the advisor for many international cooking institutes, he has prepared foods for nearly every head of state, he has his own line of cookware, and owns some of the best restaurants in Europe and the United States. Did I leave anything out?”

“I am also on the board of directors of several international restaurant chains,” Chef Rene said.

“Of course,” Carl said. “How could I forget.”

“I also produced this program,” Chef Rene said.

“Yes,” Carl said.

“And I own this network,” Chef Rene said.

“Yes,” Carl said and smiled uncomfortably.

“We start the show,” Chef Rene said.

“Yes, of course,” Carl said. “Ahem, ahem, The expression is often used, ‘the best thing since sliced bread.’ If anyone knows there is something better than slice bread it would be you, Chef Rene.”

“Yes,” Chef Rene said. “I would be the one. No one else knows cooking like Chef Rene.”

“So that is what our program is about today,” Carl said. “So, Chef Rene, I’m going to turn it over to you.”

“Yes,” Chef Rene said. “Now please hand me two slices of the already sliced bread.”

Carl handed it to him.

“Now lay them out flat like this,” Chef Rene said. “Take a smear of you favorite jelly, which is in my case grape, and smear two heaping tablespoons on one slice. Now put and equal amount of peanut butter on the other slice. Slap them to gather, thus. Pour 8 ounces of milk in a glass and go to town.”

“But, Chef Rene,” Carl said. “That is nothing more than a peanut butter and jelly sandwich.”

“You are correct,” Chef Rene said. “And nobody has ever been able to come up with a better taste combination. Without the sliced bread we would have never had it.”

“That’s it for today, friends,” Carl said. “Be sure to return next week with Chef Rene and me when we will present…

“The best thing since canned beer,” Chef Rene said.

(Posted as a Daily Prompt)

(Posted at 365 Writing Prompts)

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“Oh, Oh, Oh, I’ll Take The Jittery Goat Special!” With Recipe

Daily Prompt: You, the Sandwich

If a restaurant were to name something after you, what would it be? Describe it. (Bonus points if you give us a recipe!)

I like food pretty straight forward, no raz-a-ma-taz. If you’re going to get a burger it’s okay to have stuff on it, but when it’s all said and done it still has to be a burger. I figure some places have crummy burgers so they have to doll it all up with lipstick, makeup, and perfume to make it passable. (Hey, I know that sounds sexist, but more and more guys are doing it these days too.)

That’s not to say there aren’t foods that need that treatment, but some don’t and shouldn’t.

Eggs by themselves are like… well eggs by themselves. Here’s a little omelet thing I like. I call it, “Oh, Oh, Oh.” Actually three Os; Oyster Onion Omelet.

It is simple to make, but can be a bit time-consuming for a quick breakfast or meal.

Before beating two eggs and spreading them on a grill or pan have sautéed onions and breaded deep-fried oysters on hand.

Once the beaten eggs are placed on the grill or pan drop in the desired amount of onions, beaded oysters, and sprinkle with your favorite cheese. Once the eggs are cooked sufficiently fold them and allow them to cook until the eggs are solid.

Smack it between two pieces of buttered toast and go to town.

Here’s another variation. Place over an open biscuit and pour on some sausage gravy.

To really do it right dice a little garlic and sauté with the onions.

I’m gonna rant a bit. You ever notice how all those cooking show chefs have everything measured in exact proportions. That’s dumbing it down for the audience. Anybody that’s boiled anything besides water knows that no two batches of anything are exactly alike except for stuff that comes from a can. If you can’t figure out how much salt and oregano to season something with you shouldn’t light a stove by yourself anyway.

Anyway, now that you’ve read my rant, go fix an Oh, Oh, Oh.

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Recipe For Country Boy Jambalaya

Country Boy Jambalaya; "Country boys likes dem taters."

A post featuring the Hank Williams’ song Jambalayaa few weeks ago made me think of Jambalaya – dah!

It is a Cajun dish that is better the second and third warm-up. There’s nothing tricky about it. Everything about it is simple and made with stuff you don’t have to go to one of those snooty gourmet stores to get.

Here’s a little twist for those meat and potato country boys; it’s what I call Country Boy Jambalaya.

First of all make up a mixture of Cajun seasoning to be used anytime.

1 cup of salt

¾ cup of cayenne

¼ cup of chili powder

¼ of paprika

¼ cup of black pepper

¼ cup of onion salt

¼ cup of garlic powder

¼ cup of thyme

This can be kept in a tight container and used anytime. Back to the jambalaya:

Cut a pound of smoked sausage into ½ inch lengths and have a pound of cleaned shrimp ready. Melt two table spoons of butter in a fry pan and toss the sausage and shrimp into the hot pan of melted butter. Sprinkle with Cajun seasoning. Cook until shrimp turn pink. It doesn’t take long.

Remove the sausage and shrimp into a bowl and set it aside.

Cut one medium onion into slices.

Cut two green bell peppers into slices.

Chop one cup of celery.

Add another two table spoons of butter to the fry pan, sprinkle with Cajun seasoning, and sauté the vegetable.

Remove the vegetables from the fry pan and add them to the bowl of sausage and shrimp.

Par boil four cups of ¼ inch cubed potatoes. You may want to melt a little more butter. Sprinkle with Cajun seasoning and finish cooking the potatoes in the fry pan so that they have a little crust.

Add all the ingredients into a large pan. Add a 14.5 ounce can of crushed tomatoes and add one small can of tomato paste. Heat them all together. Taste and add more Cajun seasoning to your liking.

That’s what I call Country Boy Jambalaya.

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Another Variation Of Gourmet Toasted Cheese

Toasted cheese; try it with any cheese, any bread, any meant, with any jelly.

Last week I posted about gourmet grilled toasted cheese sandwiches. I really should have gone a step further. There is another possible ingredient neglected; meat. Recall the premise was any combination of one type of bread, one jelly, and cheese.

Before trying this I turned my nose up at jelly with cheese and jelly with meat. To me meat was only complemented with gravy, Worcestershire sauce, or some sort of steak sauce. I reasoned that many sauces have a lot of sugar such barbecue sauce. So it’s not really a leap to get to jelly. Likewise, fruits (such as those used in jellies) are very good with various cheeses.

A couple of weeks ago my daughter dropped by to make dinner for us. She prepared grilled toasted cheese.

It was fabulous. She used blueberry bread, red pepper jelly, and feta. But what really topped it off was that she added prosciutto.

This started me to thinking (Right, that is a problem). I wondered what meats would work best on the toasted cheese?

The first meat that came to mind was pastrami. The pastrami is much better if shaved or chipped.

Rather than just add the pastrami (or any meat) to the sandwich try heating it first on the grill. Make certain the grill or pan is good and hot before starting. You want some sizzle when the meat hits the heat. Do so until the ends have a little crispness to them. The reason for this is that it gives another dimension of flavor. It will also release some of the moisture in the meat. Too much moisture will make the sandwich soggy and not moist.

So assemble the grilled cheese just like in last week’s blog. Grill the shaved meat until there is a little crispness at the ends. Add the meat to the sandwich and toast it like you normally would.

My wife, daughter, and I had a wonderful time chatting over this delicious delight.

So use your own imagination to create something truly unique and tasty when friends drop over.

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Gourmet Toasted Grilled Cheese; Your Velveeta Days Are Over

If you think Velveeta is the only cheese for a toasted grilled cheese sandwich, you are not worthy of reading this blog.

Do you like toasted cheese sandwiches? Who doesn’t.

For most of my life it was Velveeta cheese and white bread and of course butter. That was the only thing that cheese was good for; the carp wouldn’t bite on it.

Here’s something to try that will get you out of your comfort zone or one bread and one cheese toasted cheese sandwich routine. And it is just as unhealthy.

On small pieces of paper write a cheese; like Swiss. Make about ten or as many as you like. Put the cheese names in a bowl. Do the same with bread. Put those papers in a bowl. Lastly, do it with jelly and put them in a bowl.

When you are done you should have three bowls; one with slips of paper with nothing but names of cheeses, another with slips of paper with nothing but names of breads, and another with slips of paper with nothing but names of jellies.

Close your eyes and pick a slip of paper from each bowl. There is your next gourmet grilled cheese sandwich. You may end up with something like rye, gouda, and peach jelly (you can use preserves or jams also). No matter what combination give it a try.

This is also a great dinner party idea. Have the cheeses, breads, and jellies on hand and make them to order.

Assemble the sandwich like normal. Apply the jelly to both slices of bread on the cheese side.

Her is some preemptive advice; when applying the jelly to the bread use only a smear. If you apply too much the heat liquefies the jelly. Also too much jelly overpowers the cheese. A smear is just enough to add a hint of sweetness and flavor from the fruit.

There is on warning that must be issued; it will be difficult to go back to Velveeta (Doesn’t that sound more like some hot little number in a little cantina just south of the border?).

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Margaritaville Bread Pudding (From French Toast To Bread Pudding With A Mexican Twist)

This ain't your Granny's bread pudding unless she's a an old Jimmy Buffett groupy.

Let’s say you want to try the recipe for French toast posted last Friday. By the time you’re ready to start grilling the morning is half gone and you’ve sipped enough coffee to sink a battle ship.

Take all that pent-up caffeine energy and do something with it. You can go ahead and grill the French toast and freeze it to be used later or…

How about bread pudding.

All you have to do is cube the bread, mix in the French toast batter with the cubed bread, spread it in a baking dish, and place in an oven at 375 for 35 to 45 minutes and voilà!

But before doing that (you know, you got all the caffeine in your system) toss in a ¾ cup of raisins, a cup of chopped pineapple, and add a dozen or so maraschino cherries on top, then bake it. That will be a viola and an ou la la.

You can drizzle with maple syrup.

Now do you really want to drive the French crazy?

Take six ounces of Margarita mix (no alcohol yet) pour it in a sauce pan. Thoroughly mix a level tablespoon of cornstarch into a cold Margarita mix and bring it to a simmer. Add a ¼ cup zest of lime and an ounce or two of tequila. Pour it over the baked bread pudding just before serving. You’ll have a house full of Mexicans and French in no time.

Things will go fine until the French try to take credit for inventing Tequila and Margaritas and insist Jimmy Buffett is pronounced ‘buffet’ (boo-fey).

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French Fraud Toast

The Millau Viaduct; built so the French could be in awe of themselves.

The French do nothing out of practicality or necessity. Have you ever sat next to one on crowded bus? Where’s the ode de Cologne when you need it? They do things for the sake of grandiosity, pretentiousness, and impressing others (mainly themselves). Look at the Eiffel Tower, the Millau Viaduct, the Maginot Line; all testimonies to the French desire to create grand things that are useless.

Take Champagne and caviar; people pretend to like it. It’s like listening to a Frenchman speak English; you pretend to understand them.

If you question them you relive a scene from the Pink Panther:

Clouseau: Tell me do you have a reum?

Hotel Clerk: I do not know what a ‘reum’ is.

A gun on the Maginot Line; built to stop the German invasion of World War II.

Clouseau: [looks up the word ‘room’ in his German dictionary]

Hotel Clerk: Ah, a ‘room’.

Clouseau: That is what I have been saying, you idiot. Reum.

However, French Toast is the only French item I like. Which leads me to think it may have been stolen from the Belgiums. (Little known fact; the French have been envious of Belgium waffles for years, also equally not known is the French stole their language from the Belgiums.)

The first time I had French Toast was in a small restaurant in Marysville, Ohio (I know it would have been more exciting to say a small French café on Avenue des Champs-Élysées). For some reason Mom, one of my sisters, and I were traveling to Columbus. We stopped for breakfast on one of the main streets near the middle of town. Mom ordered French toast for me. This was my first introduction to French cuisine and culture besides the French fry.

The Eiffel Tower; built to observe the invading German Army marching from the Maginot Line.

That French Toast was one of the most delicious foods I had to that point of my young life. I wondered what else was being kept from me?

When I became a cook particular attention was given to how it was prepared.

French Toast is simple. Here is a recipe I prefer;

4 eggs

3/4 cup milk

3 tablespoons brown sugar (evil white sugar can also be used and you may wish to go as much as double the amount)

1 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1 tablespoon ground cinnamon

Sliced bread

Dip the bread in the batter and toast on a lightly buttered grill set at 350 degrees. Toast each side lightly and serve with your favorite syrup. I don’t get the pat of butter thing. If you can’t taste it why even do it? If you’re going to do butter do Paula Dean portions – ya‘ll (spoken with irritating nasal quality).

Creamy French Toast

French toast; it can't be French, it tastes too good.

A couple of years ago I expanded the recipe a bit. I made a simple cream cheese filling. As an example; Purchase a tub of whipped cream cheese or an 8 oz. package. Add a cup of your favorite pie filling. Blend until smooth.

Any pie filling bought off the shelf is fine; apple, blueberry, cherry, peach, etc.

Here is something that will send it over the top; Add a glub of rum for you boozers or a dash or two of rum extract for the temperate.

Take two freshly dipped slices of French Toast and brown them on one side. After one is browned flip it over. Add a tablespoon or so of the cheese/filling mix on the flipped slice of toast. Then flip the other slice on top of the slice that has the cheese/filling mix. As soon as the grilled side to is toasted flip it to toast the untoasted side.

Your favorite syrup can be used as a topping, but don’t overdo it – unless you are French.

Her is a simple syrup;

3/4 cup packed brown sugar

1/4 cup sugar 3/4 cup water

1/2 cup light corn syrup

Bring these ingredients to a boil for about seven minutes, then add the following to it.

1/2 teaspoon maple flavoring

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

The flavoring or extract can be substituted for what ever you prefer.

If you want to skinny it down a bit, use fresh fruits.

I have had people try my French toast and its many variations and speak fluent French ,or to be more precise, Belgium immediately.

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