Tuesday, January 31, 2012
I've been busy this past week with a radio interview, book signing, TV cooking segment and 4 more Hy-Vee stores stocking my cookbook. There are now 4 of the Kansas City metro area stores stocking along with the store in Bethany, Missouri. That brings us up to 9 Hy-Vee stores we're connected with and working on more.
I had a great time at Hastings Bookstore on Saturday signing books, answering questions and talking to 2 other Tate Publishing prospects. Several people mentioned hearing the radio interview, previous newspaper articles, the KQ2 Morning Show and I even met a young lady that received the cookbook for Christmas.
This week, I'm going to talk a little about "Olive Oils" and things you should know about them. There is a great article on somethings to watch out for about olive oil that was sent to me by Mary Ann. She is a local blog reader. I also have a great website for a store in Sioux Falls, South Dakota that sells olive oils. I think you will really like it and what all they have to offer.
And, of course, there will be a recipe or two on Friday. Olive Oil will be one of the ingredients, naturally.
Have a great week.
Friday, January 27, 2012
Thursday, January 26, 2012
My first job in a restaurant was as a line cook at Fedora Cafe. My Executive Chef was a very demanding classically trained French Chef named Jean-Paul. I like to refer to him as the "French Nightmare" and his only requirement of his cooks/chefs was to learn, learn, learn. And learn I did, especially from my mistakes. One of my first mistakes in retrospect was the funniest thing I have ever done. Being a line cook in Chef Jean-Paul's kitchen meant I was not allowed in the prep area and that's where I wanted to be. So I began to ask Chef Jean-Paul if i could help with prep. The answer was always NO. Not being one who gives up easily I just hounded the poor man with all I had.
One day when I asked if I could help out in the prep kitchen, instead of saying no, he asked me if I knew how to cook pasta. Of course "I do" was my response. So he told me to cook 25 pounds of Penne pasta as part of the special he was planning for the evening service.
You can not imagine how I was feeling at that moment. The pride I was feeling, I was going to cook the pasta for Chef Jean-Paul's special. I had already imagined the conversation I was going to have with my friends and family. And I prepared myself to be the envy of all the line cooks. Yes I was going to be the man that day.
I began by weighing my pasta. Next I filled the kettle with cold water and very meticulously salted my water adding a tablespoon at a time to achieve the flavor of the sea. And here is where it gets fun. Once the water was salted just right, instead of letting the water come to a boil, I just dumped in the 25 pounds of pasta and began to stir. You know it is amazing the mess 25 pounds of pasta, cold water and salt can make! When Chef Jean-Paul came into the kitchen to check on my progress, well you can imagine he was not too happy. A full six months went by before he allowed me in the prep area again. But I did learn a very important lesson about being "full of myself" and focusing on the job at hand. Fast forward two years and Chef Jean-Paul promoted me to Sous Chef, his first such appointment in over six years.
Several years later I would land the role of Executive Chef at McCormick & Schmick's Seafood Restaurant. It is a 10 million dollar operation with 10 million pounds of responsibility. It was here that I developed my love affair with seafood. There is nothing better than slicing off a small piece of raw Ahi Tuna from a 20 pound loin at 6:00 AM just to start your day.
Over the years I have worked with so many different species of fish that I have lost count. But one thing remains constant, if you start with quality product you end with quality product. Freshness in essential! The best way to know you are getting quality product is to become best friends with your fish-monger (the person behind the fish counter). They can tell you when they receive product so you get the freshest fish possible.
Some things in general to keep in mind when purchasing fresh fish. Smell the fish, if it smells fishy do not buy it. If buying whole fish, check the fish's eyes. If they are cloudy, don't but it. If it appears discolored, don't buy it.
The question I get asked the most is about fish is "how do you know when it is done." That depends on the kind of fish you are cooking. Through experience, I have learned to tell doneness by touch. That takes a lot of experience and cooking. So the safest way to tell when fish is done is to use an instant read thermometer. Stick it in the thickest part of the fish and look for a temperature of 145 degrees for 15 seconds. If you don't own one, get one. Another rule of thumb for cooking fish is 10 minutes for each inch of thickness. Be careful when you are cooking fish as there is nothing worse than over cooked fish.
The main thing to remember is to try. Don't be afraid of fish or seafood. Like anything we attempt, you get better with practice. As Martha Stewart would say "it's a good thing." Enjoy cooking and eating fish. Besides tasting great - it's good for you too.
Wednesday, January 25, 2012
He left PT and enrolled at Johnson County Community College in their Culinary Program. They have an excellent Culinary Arts program leading to an Associates Degree as a Chef. It is a three year program where you combine classroom studies with an on-the-job apprenticeship working around 40 hours a week.
Fish-cutter, as we refer to him, originally thought he would live out his fantasy and return to PT as a career. He didn't know that the food business can get under your skin and you never get away from it. It's a love!
He started at the Fedora Cafe on the Plaza in Kansas City and ended up being their Sous Chef before leaving there for the Alameda Plaza Hotel. Again as the Sous Chef, but this time as the Executive Sous Chef. He held that title next at the Long Branch Steak House before becoming the Executive Chef at the Fountain Cafe. The next position was as the Executive Chef at McCormick & Schmick's Seafood Restaurant.
Here is were he developed his love for fish and seafood. He will talk about that and some basics that you want to know about buying and cooking fish.
Currently, he is the Executive Chef at a large multifaceted establishment and keeping very busy. I thank him for taking the time to help me out on the blog.
On another topic, I will be doing a book signing in St. Joseph, Missouri on Saturday (28th) at Hastings Bookstore. I'll be there from 1:00 to 3:00 PM signing books, answering questions and sampling some food. Please stop by to talk if you get a chance.
My radio interview is Thursday morning between 8:00 and 8:30 AM at KKWK, 100.1 on your dial. On Monday, the 30th, I'm on KQ2. Not my normal Monday but have picked up the 5th Monday since I missed the 3rd one as I was out of town. So tune in there between 6:30 and 7:00 AM.
Remember that Friday has a great Catfish recipe. Thanks for following the blog.
Tuesday, January 24, 2012
Last week my wife and I, along with six others, went to Cabo San Lucas. I picked up some great ideas for food and worked with a chef at our resort. I am trying to get him to be my "Guest Chef" in late April so we can have some ideas for "Cinco de Mayo" parties. He gave me a few recipes and they will appear in this blog over the next few months.
I had a neat experience while there one night. I was able to watch a lady roll cigars. She can roll around 75 cigars a day and does a beautiful job. I had a great conversation with the General Director of "The Castle Cigars", Daniel Alonso Rodriquez. The seeds of the tobacco plants were from Cuba but are grown in Mexico. This makes for a great cigar. You can check it out at Castle Cigars.
This first week back is going to be busy. I have an interview on Thursday (26th) morning between 8:00 and 8:30 AM on the radio. The station is "Classic Hits 100.1 KKWK. If you can pick it up, I hope you listen in.
Then on Saturday (28th) I have a book signing from 1:00 to 3:00 PM at Hastings Bookstore in St. Joseph, Missouri. Please stop by if you get a chance and say "Hi." I'm not sure yet just what I'll be sampling that day. I'll be stopping in to see them today and go over the setup and make sure it is alright to sample a little food in the store.
Have a great week and please tell a friend about this food blog. Thanks.
Saturday, January 21, 2012
Friday, January 20, 2012
Thursday, January 19, 2012
Wednesday, January 18, 2012
Tuesday, January 17, 2012
My first article in the Nodaway News Leader has appeared. The feedback that I'm getting is very favorable and people are excited about the column coming each month. I sure hope it helps some get cooking and gain a little knowledge about their way around the kitchen.
In this week's blog, I'm doing 4 recipes to hopefully help you with planning your "Super Bowl Party." I had planned on having another "Guest Chef" this week but we're running a little behind. The "Guest Chef" will be the following week and so I moved the "Super Bowl Party" stuff up a week.
When planning a party (big or small), you can't leave everything to the last minute. The 2 snack/food recipes this week can be made the day before and are really quite easy. They will appear on Wednesday and Thursday in the blog. The "Easy Guacamole" recipe is so much better than buying one of the pre-made ones from the store. "Party Shrimp Dip" is the other recipe. It is easy to make and can use a variety of dipping tools (crackers, pita chips, toasted or grilled pita wedges and even fresh vegetables).
On Friday's blog, I have 2 punch recipes. If you are going to do more than just offer beer and wine as a beverage at your party, these make good sense. Both recipes can be made with or without alcohol in them. The punches can help to cut down costs over individual beverages such as canned soda (pop) for the younger ones or those of age ones not into alcohol. Both recipes start with the same base but have other ingredients that give you a totally different taste.
I guess by my putting these out a week sooner than planned, you could even give them a test run for the Divisional Championships this coming weekend. That way you can taste and decide if you want them as part of your "Super Bowl Party" on February 5th.
Have a great week and I hope all your teams win and move on towards the big game. My WIFE says "GO PACKERS" as she is originally from Wisconsin. I believe she has even bought me a Green Bay Packer's shirt this year. Happy Cooking & Eating!
Friday, January 13, 2012
1/2 tsp. Salt
Note: To make the soup for a vegetarian, omit the bacon and use 3
tbsp. of butter instead.
Thursday, January 12, 2012
Wednesday, January 11, 2012
The thing I like about soups is that they are so filling. A bowl of a good hearty soup and a nice piece (chunk) of earthy bread really makes a meal. And most soups are good for you compared to other food options. They also taste better with a day or two of age on them. Many soups freeze well so it makes sense to make a good sized batch. Eat some now and freeze some for later. That frozen soup makes for a quick meal when life dictates the need.
It is currently the winter season and during this season, soup sales pick up. A hot bowl of soup on a cold wintry day warms the body and soul. Everyone gets into soups (which includes chilies and stews) at this time of year. However, if you haven't tried them during the other 3 seasons you're missing out.
I have two favorite places for soup if I'm eating out. They are the Olive Garden for their all-you-can-eat "Soup, Salad & Bread Sticks" menu item and Panera's for their "Pick Two" menu. The "Pick Two" gives you a cup of soup with half a sandwich or half a salad.
My cookbook "More Than Your First Cookbook" has 12 soup, chili & stew recipes in it. With the 2 soup recipes coming on Thursday and Friday, this blog has 6 more soup recipes. If none of these (and I doubt that) trip your trigger (taste buds), then there are many more recipes out there for you to try. Whichever, please give soups their due as you might find out that you really like them.
One more thing on soups. They are fairly easy to make and maybe even a little fun.
The two recipes this week are "Clam Chowder" on Thursday and "Potato Soup" on Friday. Enjoy!
Tuesday, January 10, 2012
There will be a recipe with the column each time it comes out. The recipe may come from the cookbook but there will not be any from the "Cabana Boy Cooks" blog. Actually, I will probably do every other one from the cookbook "More Than Your First Cookbook." The other recipes will be ones I have not published anywhere before the column.
This week's issue will be out Thursday on the shelf and Friday if you get it by mail. I'm not sure if it will come out the same week each month. I will mention when it will come out in the Tuesday blog of that week.
Again, because I'm just getting started with this new project, I don't know if you will be able to get the article on-line at the paper's website or not. However, I will put the website link in this blog today and again each Tuesday that I remind everyone of a new article coming out.
I hope you will have an opportunity to read the articles and, as always, please give me feedback on them, this blog and the cookbook. Thank you.
The link: Nodaway News Leader
Last Saturday I did a book signings at Hazel's Gourmet Coffee and met some wonderful people. I served samples of the "Creamed Scones" recipe from the cookbook. Everyone loved them and couldn't believe how easy they are to make. I just made the regular ones but you can dress them up by adding chocolate, fruit and/or nuts. Remember to give them a try.
Friday, January 6, 2012
Thursday, January 5, 2012
It's the beginning of a new year - 2012 - and many people make "New Year Resolutions" at this time. Many of the resolutions have to do with changing a habit (like smoking), meeting new goals (like finding a new job) or changing ones looks (like losing weight). Whatever you choose to do, I wish you the best in achieving it.
Unfortunately, most people don't achieve them or at least not fully. We all have great intentions to start but find obstacles that get in the way. Here are a few tips that might help you meet that New Year Resolution. I hope they can help keep you on task.
1. Set an achievable goal.
2. Set a measurable goal and measure it (daily/weekly/etc.).
3. Set several measurable points along the way to the goal. That way you see your making progress.
4. Write it down and look at it every day.
5. Tell someone that will help keep you accountable and give them updates.
6. Just because you have a bad day with your resolution, don't quit. Start again because everybody has that bad day or moment. The object is to win the war even if you lose a battle or two.
7. Reward yourself with something reasonable as you meet certain points and the goal.
8. Don't let the fact that someone else is doing better on their goal. It's like the tortoise and the hare. It is crossing the finish line not about how fast you get there.
Good luck and remember that you are not a loser because you didn't achieve your goal. You at least had the "Where-with-all" to at least try. A lot of people didn't even do that.
Some ideas to help get you off to a healthy start are below. And yes, all my suggestions have to do with food.
1. If you don't cook now, try cooking just one meal a week.
2. If you do cook now, try cooking one new dish each week.
3. If you are going to the grocery store without a plan, start at least planning what main meal items you need.
4. If you are not planning a weekly menu for all meals, at least plan all the dinners.
5. If you are not eating in a healthy manner, add just one well balanced meal to the menu each week.
6. If you are using too much butter and cream (me), back off a little.
7. If you are a picky eater, try just one new item/dish each week. You won't like them all but you could be surprised.
8. Instead of always using canned or frozen vegetables, try at least one fresh vegetable each week.
9. If all you eat is red meat, try chicken or fish at least once a week.
10. If you eat too much or not the right kind of food, try a little moderation in your diet.
Ten suggestions is probably to much, but I'm just trying to give you some ideas. Whatever you decide to do or not do, I wish you all a healthy, happy and best 2012. Tomorrow is a recipe. Thanks.
Wednesday, January 4, 2012
To date, I have had only one negative comment. That had to do with NO pictures. I told them to check the cookbook and read why there are NO pictures. They understood why after checking. They still wanted photos because that is how they pick out recipes to try. I understood that because I will do that too. But cooking is about taste first and photos later.
I've picked just four people to give you an idea of what we are hearing. I would like to thank them and all the others for their feedback. It helps a great deal as I continue the blog and other opportunities. Please read, enjoy and pass these comments on to other family members and friends. Thank you.
I've had "More that Your First Cookbook" for about three weeks now and have made over a dozen recipes for my husband, son (9), and daughter (6). A lot of the recipes contain ingredients that I currently have in my kitchen. I now make a shopping list for the week by picking out 5-6 recipes I would like to try. It has lowered my weekly grocery budget and has taken the guess work out of what I'm going to make for dinner after working all day! My son particular loves it. He rates all the recipes and has enjoyed trying new things. Right now his favorites are the meatball sub, beef enchiladas and of course homemade chicken strips. Very kid friendly cooking but also contains some great recipes for the parents! Sharlet Dumke
Hi Barry! While I was waiting for your cookbook to come out in print, I would check out your blog "Cabana Boy Cooks", and try the recipes you posted. One of our favorites is the fried chicken recipe where you soak the chicken pieces in buttermilk and hot sauce. Tad doesn't generally like fried chicken, but he loves this!! We also tried using the buttermilk and hot sauce when making chicken fried steak, which I think is a recipe in your cookbook, and that is wonderful, too! You did a wonderful job on this cookbook -- we love all the recipes we've tried! Thanks! Susan Henggeler
Tuesday, January 3, 2012
We had a mixed holiday season with the death on my last uncle on Christmas Day and finding out that our first grandchild will be a girl. My uncle had a great life of 90 years and raised a fine family with my aunt. We all have wonderful memories to reflect on and share as we continue on with each of our life adventures.
As far as the granddaughter to come (May) is concerned, I've got time to plan how I can best spoil her and help give support as she grows. My daughter and son-in-law may be worried that I have started planning already. However, I plan to enjoy my first grandchild and hopefully she me.
I would like to thank everyone that purchased one of my new cookbooks. I really feel humbled by it and hope that all of you enjoy the results of the cookbook as much as I enjoyed bringing it to you. I am hearing good comments from people all over. If you do enjoy the cookbook, please remember to tell family and friends about it and this blog.
I know a lot of people received my cookbook for Christmas this year. I hope you all will enjoy and use it often. If you did not receive a signed copy, I would be happy to sign it for you sometime in the future. In fact, if you are in St. Joseph, Missouri this Saturday you can catch me at Hazel's Gourmet Coffee & Tea Shop. I am doing a book singing there from 1:00 to 3:00 PM on January 7th. Hazel's is located at the corner of Woodbine & Fredrick, just across the street from Applebee's. I will be selling & signing books there and sampling the "Creamed Scones" recipe from the cookbook. So please stop by and try one.
Tomorrow's blog has some comments from several cookbook owners and users. Remember to check in and see what they have to say about the cookbook. Thursday will talk about New Year Resolutions and being healthy this coming year. The recipe on Friday will be something on the healthy side. My wife will glad to see it doesn't contain butter or heavy cream. But that won't last for long. Remember, everything in moderation as my dietitians always say.
Have a great week and again best to you in 2012.