Thursday, June 10, 2010
Sometime back in the late 1970’s a family friend and I took it upon ourselves to take over his parents’ diner while they continued with another one. I had such limited experience in a commercial kitchen at the time, but my friend’s mother, Eleanore Calis took me under her wing, time and again saying 8 simple words that have stuck with me like glue to this day.
“Let me show you how I do this”
I’m a visual learner and these words not only told me to watch what she was doing, but also gave me confidence that I could do it myself.
I never told her how important those 8 words were to me and it’s unfortunate that I’ve lost contact with her family over the years. She was a great teacher and even though she never knew it, she was my mentor-to-be.
I have a new business mentor now. I tell her all the time how much I appreciate her help. But those 8 simple words from Eleanore Calis have never left my mind. Every time I learn something new or teach someone else, I hear her voice saying “let me show you how I do this”. It showed me that she cared and wanted to share her knowledge and her passion. At least that’s how I look at it. And now I pass that same culinary passion along to others.
I dedicate this blog entry to my former mentor, friend and 2nd mother Eleanore Calis. Also thanks to Joe, Aida and Amy. And of course, Jill and Anna.
Saturday, May 15, 2010
Every person whose ever eaten potato salad has their favorite kind and there are just as many recipes out there as there are people who make it.
From russets to reds, from colds to hots, from mayo to blue cheese, eggs, pickles, so many things you can add to make it, and even more ways to make it better.
I figure that there have got to be some people out there who are reading this blog without posting anything, so here's your chance.
With summer grilling and picnic season fast approaching, maybe you have a favorite potato salad recipe to share?
Here's the one that I made last night with just some basic ingredients that I had in the house already.
4 russet potatoes boiled with lots of salt (fork test to be still just a little firm)
- If you boil the potatoes with the skin on, then run them under cold water, the skins will just drape off when you rub them.
1 roasted red bell pepper
2 tablespoons sweet pickle relish
1/2 small onion, diced
1 carrot shredded with a peeler then chopped into smalled pieces
2 tablespoon celery seed
1 teaspoon black pepper
more salt to taste
1 tablespoon sweet paprika (reserve a little for garnish)
2 cups of mayonaise
1/2 cup of yellow mustard
Gently fold all ingredients together so that the potatoes don't become all mush.
Chill and serve.
Makes 6-10 servings
This was nothing fancy and only took about 1 hour to make from start to finish.
So what's your fav?
Thursday, April 29, 2010
With Cinco De Mayo coming up soon, I thought I'd pass along the recipe to a dip I created about a year ago.
I've served this on different occasions with blue tortilla chips, Apple chips and Veggie chips. And I always get the most possitve responses of how much people love it and always ask for the recipe.
1 Cup Sour Cream
½ Cup Mayonaise
1 Tablespoon (or more to taste) Dried Chive
1 Tablespoon (or more to taste) Minced Red Onion
½ Pound Shredded Manchego Cheese
Let the flavors marry for at least an hour, but if you can make it a day ahead, then it will taste even better!
Try substituting these other cheeses that also work well with this recipe: Asiago or Jarlsberg for a sharper taste. Gruyere for a nuttier taste.
Thursday, March 25, 2010
When I decided to make a brisket for this evening I had already planned it out in my head the day before when I purchased the 4 lb. cut of meat. What I didn't plan out were the memories that came flooding back while cooking it.
Neither of my parents really taught me how to cook. But I received a whole lot of inspiration from both of them throughout childhood. Our family home was always the gathering place, and my parents were big on entertaining large groups of people. When they remodeled the kitchen there was certainly no skimping on quality. Thermadore, Kitchen Aid and Revereware; all top quality names for their time and were a standard in our home. We were also the first family in our neighborhood to own a microwave oven and a trash compactor.
Both of my parents shared the cooking and both were equally as good, but as my mother grew ill, cooking dutes fell more and more on my father. I think I learned more of what would become 1 pot meals and fusion cooking techniques from watching him in the kitchen.
One of the house specialties was a wonderfully moist Beef Brisket swimming in Au Jus. Then sliced thinly on a hand cranked deli style meat slicer (another 1st, since it wasn't common to have a meat slicer in your home kitchen).
This afternoon as I prepared to make my brisket, I pulled out the same 12 Qt. Stock Pot that I had inherited from my parent's kitchen. As I poured the oil in to sear the meat, memories began flooding my mind. It was a warm happy feeling and felt as though both of my parents were watching over my shoulder as I prepared the meat and the braising liquid. I had never made a brisket this way before and was only working from the memory of watching either of them do it.
As I turned the meat over to sear the other side, I felt as though my hands were my mothers hands turning the meat.
Back in those days, we didn't have crock pots, so everything was done on the stovetop. In today's world, I was able to place the seasoned and seared meat into my 7 Qt. All-Clad Slow Cooker with some onion and herbs while I returned to the stock pot to make the recipe truly mine.
I degazed with a cup of coffee left over from the morning pot and poured the liquid over the brisket, set the cooker on low for 41/2 hours and let it go.
Later, I whipped up some of my famous whipped garlic potatoes and pulled out some thin sliced zucchini that I had vaccum sealed which was left over from last week's Ratatouille recipe.
Dinner was amazing and I was feeling warm and fuzzy with the memories I had experienced. Which, to me, brings new meaning to "The Joy of Cooking".