Tag Archives: recipes

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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Filed under Daily Prompt, Short Stories

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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How To Make Juicy Succulent Meat Loaf


Meat Loaf To Drool Over

In the Army we found a way to take dry meat loaf and make it juicy.

When I was in the Army we had a unique way of making our meat loaf moist.

One time I helped another cook, Jim, mix a meat loaf. We had about 70 lbs of ground beef in huge mixing bowl we called a half-moon (there were other things we called half-moons).

We were vigorously mixing the ground beef and all the ingredients together by hand half way up to our elbows. Jim was a talker. He drooled and spit when he talked. By the time we were done mixing the meat loaf we had to add another ten loaves of bread crumbs to soak up his saliva.

I suggested we throw it away.

“Ah, it will cook out,” Jim said. “Besides everybody’s been complaining about dry meat loaf anyway.”

On the menu we called it “Jimmy’s Juicy Meat Loaf” and never told a soul why.

Jim tasted it before serving. He had this look on his face as if he was trying to search for a word to describe the taste. Suddenly it came to him. “It taste like the inside of my mouth.”

My Army Recipe For Salisbury Steak

Salisbury steaks are like little meat loaves. That being said, I’m going to change it up a bit; the concept of Salisbury steak and meat loaf. I’m going to create one meal from that theme.

Here’s a Salisbury steak recipe I made in the Army: guaranteed no saliva; that is, of course, if you wish to add it yourself. It’s cut down to four servings.

Sautee the following items in oil;

1 cup of finely chopped onion

1 finely chopped green pepper

1 stock of finely chopped celery

1 tbsp. of finely chopped garlic

Mix with the following items;

1 pound of ground beef

2 eggs

½ cup of bread crumbs

1 tsp of salt, pepper, and celery seed

1 small jar of chopped pimentos.

2 tbsp of Worcestershire sauce

Form into four patties shaped like battleships or footballs (American).

Sear the patties

Quarter small onions. Chop four carrots and four stems of celery. Cube four cups of potatoes (2 inch cubes or less) . Give these a toss in the pan you used for sautéing.

Place Salisbury steak patties in a roasting pan and add the vegetables (Potatoes, onions, and carrots). Place in oven at 350 degrees for forty-five minutes.

Serve on leaves of spinach and crisscross the top with two spears of asparagus.

You’ll be drooling.

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There Are Still A Few Good Pizza Joints Left

It's places like Lombardi's in New York and local places in neighborhood joints where real pizza can still be found.

The taste of authentic pizza may someday become so far removed and diluted that it will no longer be able to be recognized (The same direction as beer sense the introduction of light beer). Over the last few weeks I’ve shared what will give an authentic pizza tasting experience. An example might be fresh milk as opposed to the watered down version purchased in markets today. If whole fresh milk is tried today it’s likely you’ll turn your nose up at it. (The same with real beer and light beer; yes, I have beer issues.)

Most pizzas today bear only a slight resemblance to the masterpieces of yesteryear. The attention to detail, the quest for fresh ingredients and, creative seasoning have gone by the wayside.

The public has become enchanted with cheap (Housewives of Beverly Hills). Note how the chain pizza restaurants and carry-outs stress price. A good authentic pizza would cost only a couple dollars more.

A few years ago a pizza place opened a couple of blocks from our home. It was convenient. I confess that convenience sometimes dictates where pizza is purchased rather than quality (Pretty much the way husbands and wives are picked). They told me they had a new type of oven that cooked the pizzas perfectly. It was a conveyor. (The symbol of where modern man is heading. That was something Ted Kaczynski should really sunk his teeth into.) Nearly everybody has them now.

If you see your pizza coming out of something like this, think about this; that's how your frozen pizzas start out - from a conveyor belt. It's time to find another pizza place.

The problem is the pizza is only warmed. The crust is done, but the rest of the pizza is not really cooked. It’s sort of like micro waved tater tots. They are not cooking or baking the flavor of any part of the pizza. I know some people who like cold pizza, but uncooked?

The center of the pizza is not well cooked. It has a raw warmed-over flavor. Pizza places that have these don’t care about good pizza. This, I’m certain, is done in the name of uniformity and cost.

The pizza places that make the really good pizzas are slowly being squeezed out by the larger chains not by quality, but by price. It is the same story with the rest of the food industry. The only way the local places can compete is to adopt the same tactics and methods that are putting them out of business; cheap ingredients.

My wife and I have lived in Boise, Idaho for over three years. We’ve tried a variety of places. We even got a pizza from a place featured on Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives. We were really Duped, Disillusioned, and Disappointed.

We did find one place we really liked; Guidos’. They have two Boise locations. They create a pizza that reminds me of the way it used to taste. I will go so far to say it is one of the best pizzas I’ve ever had.

When the next ice age has come and gone, deep within a glacial ice shelf next to a Mastodon will be a Dominos’ pizza preparer; (That’s the only name I could think of to call them) he will have clutched in his pizza dough crusted hands a can that says “Pre-made Pizza Sauce.”


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Aunt Wava’s Sauerkraut Salad Abides

My Aunt’s saurkraut salad; a family tradition. When mixed with a limburger and onion sandwich the Epa starts issue sopenas to appear before the polution board and taping of your home.

By the time the 80’s rolled around many of the my family had moved or passed on in death. It was then that a remnant of the “old guard” got together at an aunt’s house in Lima, Ohio. It was wonderful The thirties seemed to be the decade they talked about the most. They were desperate years for many working class families, but they seemed to have good times and get together much more often than now days. We talked for a while and it was time to eat.

Of all the fare offered on that cold winter evening, it was Aunt Wava’s sauerkraut salad that seemed to take center stage. It was her prize dish and reported to be a constant feature at all family affairs in times past. “I made this at all the get-togethers,” she proudly said. “Try it. It’s good,” everybody urged. “Wava made this all the time,” they said. I was dubious. Was I being set-up for some cruel family joke. This was the generation that ate head cheese and Limburger on rye bread with onion. I tried it (the sauerkraut salad) and had seconds.

I distinctly remember looking around the room. My family (wife and three children) was the youngest there. My mother really urged me to be there, admittedly I was reluctant. Those old smiling faces I still see talking about then, now, and beyond, the inside jokes, the pet names, and the worn out stories filled that joyous evening. That group never assembled again. They are all dead except for my Mother who turns ninety-eight in February. To my knowledge she is the last of that generation – a generation that in their life times started out on horse back, heard the first radios, watched the first televisions, cranked to make a phone call, now use cell phones, heard the report of a man flying from New York to Paris, saw the first man on the moon, and traversed the world in supersonic transports all in one long and illustrious lifetime – Titanic, Hindenburg, Peal Harbor, Hiroshima, Nagasaki, World Trade Center and Aunt Wava’s sauerkraut abides.

Here is that recipe for sauerkraut salad:

1 #2 1/2 can (3 1/2 cups) sauerkraut, undrained

1 large green pepper, chopped fine

1 medium onion, chopped fine

1 c. chopped celery

1 small jar pimentos, chopped fine

1 c. sugar

1/4 c. salad oil

1/2 c. dark vinegar

1/4 c. water

Combine first 5 ingredients. Mix remaining ingredients and add to first mixture. Let stand in refrigerator at least 24 hours. Pour off most of the juice before serving.

Make certain all windows are open a half hour after serving or drive home with windows of the car down. If those things aren’t done, you’ll soon know why they should have.


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The Clam Chowder War (Father Against Daughter)

My signature dish; clam chowder: worth cheating for.

Today is the big day. My favorite fourteen year old Idaho granddaughter ( my only fourteen year old Idaho granddaughter) is sponsoring a clam chowder cook-off in the family.  It will pit my daughter against me.

I and clam chowder are one. Clam chowder is, sort of, my signature dish. My wife’s is chili and beer bread (a waste of good beer). My daughter is already the cup cake queen. Why does she want more? It’s like Hitler invading Austria; it’s never enough; she’s not happy until she has it all. My daughter wants to take my thunder. I could understand my son (it’s a male testosterone thing); but, my daughter!

In as much as I’ve given my daughter my recipe; how can I loose? It’s my recipe!

My granddaughter set forth the rules (I don’t trust her); we must use the same ingredients. Theoretically it should be a tie. And maybe that’s not such a bad idea. I couldn’t stand to hear my daughter gloating if she won, but I would, of course, be a gracious and humble winner (she would never live it down).

May game plan is to defeat her in the method of preparation. I know that she will boil the potatoes, but I’m going to par boil them and then sauté them so they have a slight fried crust. Also I’m leaving the skin on. I will likewise make certain my skillet for sautéing the onions and clams is hot before they are sautéed. I think this alone will put me over the top.

I'm not taking this too serious, but blunt force trauma to the head will assure victory.

Also I plan a surprise presentation. A pat of butter and a sprinkle of parsley will be added as each bowl is served. I should get points for style. My daughter will say that’s an unauthorized ingredient, but I will maintain it is garnish; a clear difference.

My daughter has home kitchen advantage. Her three children will vote her way, so will her husband (my favorite son-in-law up till now), and my wife will never vote in my favor. That’s everybody. I may have to bring people in off the streets or neighbors; people who don’t have a vested interest: people I can buy and bribe.

My daughter gets this wild crazed look when she's competing. I think she planned a secret ingredient. If no one touches my chowder, I'll know for sure she's done something to it.

I’ve thought about adding a cup of salt to my daughter’s chowder while she’s not looking, but that would be cheating; something that is not beneath me. I wonder if she is thinking the same thing? After all she is my daughter.

The bottom line is when gatherings include food, fun, and family everybody wins.

My clam chowder is better; now I’m happy.

Click this link for my “award winning clam” chowder.


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