Thanks for Checking in! I am still working in Grand Rapids and, as I love to do, explored the local food scene. I found a Vietnamese bakery that serves up a respectable Bahn Mi Sandwich and something call a snowball ( Chicken Vegetable and egg steamed inside a bread dough). Most recently there was an Indian grocery nearby that had Potato and Pea Samosas that were outstanding. The balance between the potato, curry and lime was beyond description. I know they were not made there but someone is making an excellent product. I had 4.
On July 4, 2010 I returned to my home in Eastpointe for a few days of Rest & Revival. Due to my late arrival my wife and I had an impromptu feast featuring some Ribeye steak, Hebrew National Hot Dogs,Grilled Romaine ( with Maytag Blue) and sautéed grape tomato with fresh basil and Olive oil. The evening finished with a very pleasant fireworks display supplied by several of our neighbors.
“Today is the actual Grilling Day/Holiday for me. As much as I enjoy my steak and salad the call was put out for salmon! Up to the challenge I came up with a menu. Salmon(Cedar planked) , Dilled Redskin Potato Salad and Grilled Corn.
Cedar (or planked) Salmon is a method acquired from the native Americans who attached there fish to a wood plank before placing them near the fire to cook. For the Salmon I was fortunate in having Cedar planks in house. They were a foodie gift and I look forward to every opportunity to use them. I have some Maple syrup and will rub my salmon down with it before placing it on the grill.
For the grilled corn I know there are several schools of thought. One involves soaking the husk (and corn) and putting it on the grill. To me, this only steams it! Grilled corn, to me, is fresh corn rubbed with butter and spice and thrown directly on the grill until slightly charred. I like chili powder and cumin.
To finish the menu I like Dilled Potato Salad. The potatoes are Michigan new potatoes. The dill grows wild around my house ( I love to forage!). I also have oregano, basil, rosemary and mint that grow wild around my house.
In my last post I alluded to my new position.I wanted bring you up to date with my current status. I am currently in Grand Rapids Michigan. I am living on-site and ( doing what I do) creating/implementing first rate dining services programs. I do return to my house in Detroit weekly.
For the last 2 weeks I have enjoyed the Downtown Blues Festival in Grand Rapids Little Ed was the first week and Duke Robilard appeared last week. This week it was Janiva Magness.
Last week we had our first Al Fresco Dining event and it went very well. We had literally twice our usual number participants joined us.We will be doing this weekly as long as the weather allows. Our resident love what we are doing!! We have a wonderful Chef Manager who has a great relationship with our residents.
I am taking a day off but wanted to stay in touch
Michigan has great small cities. Lansing, Ann Arbor, Flint and Grand Rapids each host an variety of cultural events.
My favorite meals lately has been steak with grilled romaine lettuce. I top the lettuce with an herb vinaigrette ( herbs from my garden) and Maytag Blue Cheese, as well as marinating the steak in fresh herbs from my garden. I am fortunate to have a butcher shop in my neighborhood and they will cut steaks to my specifications. I prefer to have my steaks cut to about 2 # and grill/roast when cooking.
The Romaine lettuce I drizzle with the vinaigrette after I have topped it with the cheese and slice the steak thin.
The results are spectacular!!!
( In tribute to Jack Ubaldi)
Many years ago I attended the New York Restaurant School. This was my first experience with formal culinary education. It was a tremendous experience that set my course in life.
Amongst the instructors was a gentleman who taught butchering named Jack Ubaldi. He was a great man! If you click on the link you can learn more about this well known butcher, restaurateur, author and teacher. Under his tutelage I learned how to break down a side of beef,pork, lamb. How to break poultry down and, something no chef I have come across knows how to do, remove the bones from a chicken while leaving the skin and carcass intact ( I will cover this in another post!). These are skills I use to this day!
One of Jack Ubaldi’s best known traits was to bring a bottle of wine with him to class. I remember fondly Jack giving me the keys to his locker and being sent for the wine because it was not enough to learn how to butcher, we had to learn how to cook what we cut!. We would cook a Newport Steak or Denver Ribs or whatever we worked with as part of our class.
Butchering is a lost art. As much as the American Culinary Federation does to keep standards high for skills required to be a Certified Chef, there are a large number of practicing culinarians who call themselves Chef who have no concept of how to break down a side of beef into quarters and then usable cuts or could explain the confirmation of various animals. This is due in large part to the prevalence of portion cut beef and chicken that has eliminated the opportunity for Chef’s to use this skill.
One of the easiest tasks of butchering involves breaking down Chicken into individual pieces. The process starts by removing the wings from the carcass.
The second is to remove the leg and thigh and then separating the leg from the thigh.
The most important thing to remember is to use the path of least resistance ( Note the center picture where there is a separation of the darker meat –leg, and the lighter flesh – thigh). This is where you want to make your cut. Your cuts should be through the cartilage instead of the bone.
Lastly the breast should be separated from the back and either left bone in or ( in a further step) made boneless.It can the be split into 2 pieces through the central breast plate (which in a young chicken is cartilage).
I want to begin by thanking all the folks who have been reading this blog.
I have been posting 2 to 3 times a week for several months now but recently I took a position as Regional Director of Dining Services and it has curtailed some of my efforts. As I am new to the company I choose not to reveal it’s name. My role/goal is to establish a first rate Dining Services program at each of the Senior Dining Communities I am involved in. This has taken up a great deal of my time.
Recently we did a Mother’s Day Brunch and it was exceptional. There was Prime Rib, Chicken Marsala, fresh Asparagus with Hollandaise,Baby Carrots with Fresh Dill, as well as, an omelet bar, a cheesecake bar, a waffle bar and fresh fruit and pastries. I was thrilled that we put on an event on par with any in the area (and exceeding most).
I will be getting back to a regular posting as son as I am able. I hope you stay tuned in!
One of the most important things a kitchen when your “just messing Around in the kitchen” can have is a well stocked pantry. After all,having to shop for 20 different items before you even get started takes all the fun out of the effort, not to mention that it can also take a chunk out of you wallet. I try to be prepared to go in several directions when I’m in the kitchen. For Italian I always have staples like olive oil (extra virgin), Balsamic vinegar,Parmesan Cheese and pesto (home made). If I am feeling spicy and want to go south of the border I have Chili powder,olives,rice,beans and mole sauce,well, you get the idea!
I was making dinner and thinking of my daughter. She is still in Seoul, South Korea teaching English. Anyway, I had an English chuck roast and I thought about giving it a Korean twist. In the pantry I already had Sesame oil/seeds,garlic,green onion and sake and this was pretty much all I needed to make the marinade for the beef. I had all the makings for Bulgogi.
Traditionally this dish is made with short rib that is specially cut for this purpose (very good). In the past I have also used beef tenderloin (fabulous) but that’s not what I had. The trick to using the Chuck roast lay in slicing the beef very thinly across the grain. For this I had the perfect tool. I used my brand new food slicer. Once I had slice the beef it was time to marinate it.
4 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons Brown Sugar
2 tablespoons Maple syrup
1tablespoon pear or pineapple juice
2 tablespoons Sake
2 tablespoons Sesame oil
3 tablespoons Chopped green onion
2 tablespoons chopped garlic
1 teaspoon fresh cracked black pepper
1 teaspoon ground sesame seed
Mix all ingredients, making sure to dissolve the brown sugar. Marinate the beef for at least 2 hours and not more that 4.
When my beef was ready to be cooked I got the BBQ going and made sure to oil the grates properly so the beef wouldn’t stick. I then grilled the beef very quickly. You don’t want to overcook this as the beef is very thin to start with.
Instead of Banchan I made a stir –fry of Spinach and bean sprouts that I seasoned with Sesame oil. It’s a very good combination.
While I try to not endorse any particular brands I will recommend Kadoya brand Sesame oil for your pantry. It is available in most Asian groceries. The right Sesame oil makes a big difference in cooking.
Since Maple syrup isn’t produced in Korea it really isn’t part of the marinade recipe. Usually honey is used but I didn’t have any so I used the maple syrup in my fridge.
“Namwi ddeoni deo keo boinda”
“A good start is important to any effort”
One of the most useful techniques used in the kitchen is Standard Breading Procedure. It is called this because the same techniques are used in a large variety of recipes including Chicken Parmesan, breaded fish, Mozzarella sticks and fried green tomatoes. Standard breading Procedure consist of three components, flour(seasoned), egg and milk mixture and breadcrumb. The idea is that the flour will stick to the Food being breaded. The food is then dipped in the egg and milk mixture and sticks to the flour. Finally, the food is the dredged in the breadcrumbs. One of the fine points if this procedure is the use of both hands in the process. For me this means that my left hand (my “wet” hand) moves the food into the flour to be coated, then into the egg mix and then into the breadcrumb mixture. This is where my right hand (dry hand) will coat the food with the breadcrumbs thoroughly. The reason this is important is that if the right hand (dry hand) becomes wet the breadcrumbs will stick to your hand and your food will not be coated properly. By the same token if your left hand gets coated with flour the egg will not stick (if this happens just wash and dry your hands and continue). Also if you are not comfortable working from left to right just switch your station around and work right to left
Within this framework there are a number of things that can be done to spice up the process. I have added cheese and herbs to the breadcrumbs or used crushed tortilla chip instead of breadcrumbs. I have also used instant potato flakes instead of breadcrumbs for fish. There are also Panko (Japanese) breadcrumbs that are available in almost every supermarket these days. Once breaded the food should be allowed to sit for about 10 minutes to allow a “glue to form that bond the flour,egg mix and breadcrumb together before cooking. At this point your food can also be individually frozen. This allows you to prep ahead of your meal. At the appropriate time just remove from the freezer and cook.
One of the points that are important in cooking foods that are breaded is to make sure not to overbrown your coating. For me this means either sealing my breading in a pan with some oil or “flash frying” in my deep fryer ( there are many fine home models on the market these days) until I get the desired light brown color. I actually take my foods out a little lighter than I want them do to the fact that they will keep browning after being seared. Also, it is important to not overfill your fryer or your oil temperature will drop and your coating will not set. Because many of the items I prepare this way are somewhat larger(chicken or fish) than a slice of zucchini or tomato I prefer to finish these foods on a sheet pan in the oven. This way I get a great color without burning the breading before the food is actually cooked. I “flash fry” these items one or 2 at a time. They will still finish well in the over even if they have been pre fried.
I hope you have enjoyed this post and will try some of techniques discussed. If anyone has questions I can be contacted at Detroit Eats
Until Next time..
I have always had a love of Japanese food and culture. As early as me teens I was going out to Japanese restaurants and slurping up sushi. My Asian journey was helped by a good friend whose nickname Red Ed. He was called due to the fact that he had red curly hair and freckles and so people would know which Ed they were talking about ( I was called …..Ed. Sorry I won’t reveal more!). The thing about Red Ed was that he grew up in Japan and was fluent in the language. Besides introducing me to Japanese food and culture he also taught me some of the language (a skill that would serve me well later). A favorite prank of ours was to go to a party and speak Japanese to each other and watch as the whole room fell silent while trying to figure out what we were saying to each other. Anyway…
Fast forward 30 years. I was hired to run the Cafeteria at a large Japanese auto concern. It was a natural. I knew food and spoke some Japanese. One of the requirements of the position was to serve authentic Japanese food. In order to fill this requirement I hired a Japanese Chef. Now my background as a Chef is pretty deep but I was in awe watching this Chef work. It was such a pleasure and I learned so much more about Japanese cuisine than I thought I knew. One of the dishes we served was called Chicken Katsu. It’s basically Japanese fried Chicken but is very popular. We served it once a week and people would line up around the building just to order it.
Without further babbling I present to you Chicken Katsu:
Chicken Katsu Dinner for Two
2×4 oz chicken Breast
1 cup flour (all purpose)
1 cup Panko breadcrumbs
Bulldog brand Tonkatsu Sauce
Finely shredded cabbage*
Nishiki brand Japanese short grain rice
Black sesame seeds
1. Butterfly both chicken breast so that they are an even thickness through out.
2.Sprinkle each piece lightly with kosher and white pepper.
3.Make a batter with the egg milk and some of the flour. It should be the consistency of a thin pancake batter.
4.Dredge the chicken in the flour and then dip it in the batter. Place the battered chicken in the breadcrumb.
5.Using dry hand coat the chicken with the breadcrumb. Allow the breaded chicken to rest fir 1o minutes so the coating will set.
6.Fry the chicken at 350 degrees until golden brown and the internal temperature is 165 degrees.
7.Place shredded cabbage on the plate in a mound.
8.Run a knife through the chicken in order to cut it in strips.
9.Put on plate with the cabbage and drizzle with Tonkatsu sauce.
10.Serve with cooked rice sprinkled with black sesame seed.
* Soak the cabbage in cold water after shredding. It will get crisp as it absorbs the water.
- Panko breadcrumbs are available in all Japanese grocery stores and most groceries.
- I am not endorsing the rice brand as I know there are other brands of Short grain Japanese rice. It is, however the most recognizable brand in the U.S.
- While it is possible to make Tonkatsu sauce nobody in Japan really does because the commercial stuff is widely available. It’s like mayonnaise…Yeah I know how to make it but why go to the trouble if I don’t have to.
- Bulldog brand Tonkatsu sauce is the most widely available brand and can be found in Most Japanese (and Korean) groceries.
Nokorimono ni wa fuku ga aru
Luck exists in the leftovers.