Friday, September 30, 2016

Crab Cakes

Unfortunately, I didn't snap a photo of these guys as I was too busy laboring over making them.I can, however, share the recipe. Amounts are iffy though, this was a batch of 500 bite-sized cakes.

Crab Cakes
24 pounds frozen flaked crab meat; thawed, squeezed dry and picked through
6 whole celeriac, peeled, steamed, and mashed
6 medium potatoes, peeled, steamed, and mashed
6 red bell peppers, brunoise
6 green onions, thinly sliced
6 shallots, diced and sauteed
6 cloves garlic, diced and sauteed
1/2 cup reduced white wine
salt, to taste
pepper, to taste
lemon juice, to taste
paprika, to taste
cayenne pepper, to taste

Mix all together well with your (gloved) hands in a very large bowl, Form into crab cakes using an ice cream scoop, or press mixture onto a sheet pan, flatten, freeze briefly, and cut with a round cutter. 
Sear on both sides until golden, then heat in the oven until hot throughout.

These cakes are a really easy prep-ahead, make-ahead deal. The mix can be made ahead and chilled in the bowl, the cakes can be formed ahead of time and chilled, the cakes can be seared ahead and chilled, or all of the above, and reheated in the oven to serve!

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Gluten-Free Vegan Chocolate Cake

For avoiding regular flour, eggs, butter, cream, and milk, this turned out to be a really good chocolate cake. The texture is a bit crumblier, but other than that is is great paired with a raspberry coulis and fresh berries. This was the alternative dessert at the shellfish gala dinner function.

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Trio Of Desserts

Shellfish festival gala dinner dessert plate. That's three desserts per plate times 450 people equals 1350 mini desserts by three amazing pastry chefs.
Top: Lemon macaroon with lemon cream filling
Right: raspberry swirled cheesecake on graham crust with raspberry buttercream and fresh raspberry
Left: blueberry tartlet with white chocolate ganache, chantilly cream, and chocolate garnish
Salted caramel sauce.

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Mussel and Oyster Salad

Course two in the shellfish gala dinner was a salad, composed of: a baked oyster, steamed mussels, granola sand, organic garden tomatoes, capers, vinaigrette, and flowers. There were a few variations on the salad as well, for example seafood-free (pickled chanterelles), gluten-free (no granola).

Monday, September 26, 2016

The Biscuit Recipe

Here is the recipe for the excellent biscuits that accompanied the chowder. Hint, if you need to do like, 900 biscuits, a dough sheeter (used for laminated dough, danishes, fondant, etc.) saves a lot of time and manpower in rolling out the dough and rerolling the dough, etc.

Biscuit Recipe
2 cups all-purpose (plain) flour
1 Tablespoon granulated (white) sugar
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
teaspoon pepper
1⁄2 teaspoon baking soda
1⁄2 teaspoon salt
6 Tablespoons (3⁄4 stick) chilled unsalted butter, cut into 1⁄2″ cubes
1 cup cold buttermilk
1 egg, beaten
1 tsp 2% milk

Preheat oven to 400F. 
Blend together the flour, sugar, baking powder, pepper, soda, and salt.Cut in the butter until fine meal. Stir in enough buttermilk to bind the dough, then knead on a floured surface until combined.
Roll dough out to 3/4 inches thick. Cut into 3 inch circles.
Mix together the egg and milk and brush the biscuits. Bake on an ungreased baking sheet for about 18 minutes until golden.

This recipe only makes 12 biscuits, not 900.

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Seafood Chowder

What can I tell you about this seafood chowder? It contains plenty of chunks of halibut, mussels, clams, salmon, lobster, and potatoes all smothered in a rich, creamy broth, sprinkles with parsley and chives and accompanied by fresh homemade biscuits. Sounds simply and delicious enough, right? Multiply that by 450 portions, plating to serve out of a temporary tent set-up on a parking lot.

Saturday, September 24, 2016

Traditional Seafood Boil

 Here I am featuring the main course from last week's four course seafood-based gala dinner on Thursday evening with a guest celebrity chef.
It consisted of fifty-five wooden crates of mains, one for each table of eight, and two smaller wooden crates each containing four pounds of mussels. Each crate was lined with hot seafood and contained five pounds of boiled mixed baby potatoes, eight pieces of roasted corn on the cob, eight legs of snow crab, and sixteen quahog clams, as well as a bucket containing eight whole lobsters. Quite a big feast if you ask me!

Friday, September 23, 2016

Shellfish Festival

Last week I took a change of pace and worked functions, service, and runner at a local shellfish festival. I made reception items helped make and plate a gala dinner, and ran for a chef's competition, as well as being able to participate in some of the events. It was fun and a nice change of scenery and I realized how much I missed working big events and prepping large quantities and doing off-site functions.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Pumpkin Curry

A throw-it-together, use-what-you've-got kind of meal. It's easy to vary the spices, add more vegetables, add in beans or nuts, use coconut milk, etc.!
Pumpkin Curry
diced onion
minced garlic
cubed pumpkin (pre-cooked until tender but not mushy)
curry powder
ground ginger
ground cloves
pumpkin puree
almond milk

Sweat the onion and garlic in the oil. Stir in the cubed pumpkin. Add the spices, pumpkin puree, and almond milk. Bring to a boil, stir, taste and adjust seasonings. Serve over rice.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Coconut Oil Fudge Frosting

Coconut Oil Fudge Frosting
coconut oil (equal parts)
unsweetened cocoa powder (equal parts)
maple syrup, to taste
vanilla extract, a splash

Melt the coconut oil if not already liquid, then mix all together. Allow to sit at room temperature briefly to thicken, or chill for fudge. Can be used as is as a chocolate sauce or icing. Even holds up on warm brownies and will thicken later into a frosting layer. Super yummy!

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Vegan Avocado Brownies

Vegan Avocado Brownies
2 ripe avocados, mashed well
1/4 cup coconut oil
3/4 cup granulated (white) sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup whole wheat flour
3/4 cup strong coffee

Mix all ingredients together well in order given. Spread batter into greased pie  pan or square pan and bake at 350F for 15-20 minutes. Great warm and can even be frosted while warm!

Monday, September 19, 2016

Maple Cookie Mix

Maple Cookie Mix
1/2 cup oil
1/2 cup maple syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups all-purpose (plain) flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup chocolate chips of choice (white chocolate are really good in the bars from yesterday's post)

Mix all ingredients together. Enjoy as raw cookie dough (no raw egg), bake into cookies, or use as a topping for brownies.

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Super Rich Cookie Brownies

These brownie cookie bars may be super rich and super sweet, but they are also completely vegan! It just goes to show vegans can eat rich and decadent treats as well.
Brownie Base
2 cups whole wheat flour
2 cups granulated (white) sugar
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup oil
1 cup water
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Caramel Hazelnut Filling
Maple Cookie Mix
1/3 cup flaked almonds

Preheat oven to 350F. Mix all brownie ingredients together and spread in a 9x9 inch pan.
Heat together hazelnut paste and sugar to a boil. Spread over brownie as evenly as possible.
Top with spoonfuls of cookie batter, which will spread out during baking.
Top with almonds.
Bake for 25 minutes until set.

Saturday, September 17, 2016

Molasses Sourdough Bread

From the sourdough recipe we also made up a recipe for a hearty molasses bread. It was baked in a skillet and decorated with a cool pattern on top. It was great warm from the oven, cold, and toasted with butter and a good spoonful of molasses. It was also enjoyed with baked beans and cheese.

Friday, September 16, 2016

Sourdough Bread

Using some fermented apple cider vinegar, we made a sourdough bread starter that in no ways really followed the recipe, but when made into bread, made really nice bread! Instead of water and sugar, the fermented apple cider vinegar, slightly warmed, made a great environment to activate the yeast. Add some salt, sugar, and lots of flour and knead, rise, shape, and bake!

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Sweet and Salty Roasted Pumpkin Seeds

pumpkin seeds

pumpkin seeds
brown sugar

Roast in pan or on baking sheet, slowly at 350F or quickly at 425F.

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Pumpkin Butter

Pumpkin Butter
1 cup pumpkin puree
1/4 cup milk
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 cup turbinado sugar

Cook together over low heat until slightly thickened and caramelized.
Chill and use on toast, bread, muffins, etc.

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Pumpkin Chocolate Swirl Loaf

Pumpkin Chocolate Swirl Loaf
2 1/2 cups prepared pumpkin pie filling (not from the can - homemade prepared filling you would pour right into a pie)
2 cups whole wheat flour
2 Tablespoons baking powder
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 cup oil
Preheat oven to 350F. Grease or line a 9x5 inch loaf pan.
Stir together the pumpkin pie filling, flour, baking powder, and sugar. Pour 2/3 of the mixture into pan.
Add cocoa and oil to remaining mixture and place in spoonfuls on top of batter. Use a knife to swirl it in.
Bake for about 45 minuted until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Monday, September 12, 2016

Pumpkin Pie, Pumpkin Pie, Pumpkin Pie

This makes a big batch of pumpkin pie....six good sized pies! The filling can also be  baked into tarts, custards, muffins, loaves, etc. It is a classic pumpkin pie recipe with plenty of spice and is super easy to make. Just ensure you  have a bowl or tupperware container big enough to mix the batter in. What's sad is the 12 cups of pumpkin hardly put a dent in our pumpkin supply.
Pumpkin Pie
6 pie crusts, not par-baked
12 cups pumpkin puree
10 cups evaporated milk
12 eggs
6 cups brown sugar
2 teaspoons salt
3 Tablespoons ground cinnamon
1 Tablespoon ground ginger
1 Tablespoon ground nutmeg

Prepare the crusts. Whisk remaining ingredients together. Pour into crusts. Bake at 400F for 15 minutes, then at 350F for 20 minutes or until set. 

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Homemade Pumpkin Puree

  1. Stupidly buy two huge pumpkins
  2. Drag them home and in the house
  3. Cover table with plastic bag, have plenty of towels nearby, and wear old clothes
  4. Gather tools - sharp knives, spoons, buckets, cutting boards, music, drinks
  5. Hack pumpkin in half
  6. Scoop out guts, bare-handed of course
  7. Meticulously separate guts from seeds and save seeds for roasting
  8. Cut flesh into chunks
  9. Use all the foil in your house to wrap these chunks
  10. Throw foil-wrapped chunks into a 425F oven and bake for 45 minutes or until tender
  11. Use a towel to throw the foil packs onto the top of the stove and spill hot pumpkin juice on your leg; then realize its much easier to just take the entire oven rack out and dump the foil packs into the sink
  12. Open foil packets to allow steam to escape
  13. Take hot pumpkin out of foil and back to table
  14. Play hot potato while peeling pumpkin and cutting into smaller chunks
  15. Have someone puree the chunks in a tiny, low-quality blender, taking breaks as needed to avoid burning out the motor
  16. Pour all puree into a big bucket
  17. Try to fit bucket in fridge
  18. Repeat with second pumpkin
  19. Make pumpkin spice flavored everything
  20. Eat pumpkin spice flavored everything!!!!!

Saturday, September 10, 2016

Pumpkin Factory

So for some reason two of my roommates today decided it would be a good idea to pick up two huge pumpkins and process them to make lots of pumpkin treats! It makes sense, at only $2 each for good-sized pumpkins, you can get a lot of edible pumpkin out of that. They say small sugar pumpkins are the best for pies and baked goods, but surprisingly these pumpkins had very good flavor, even plain. And when you don't really take labor into account, it is well worth it compared to buying cans of pumpkin puree of pumpkin pie filling; and you can hardly ever buy cubes of pumpkin. I honestly thought we were just going to carve these pumpkins into jack-o-lanterns, but this pumpkin factor was quite fun. We cut open the pumpkins, scooped out all the guts, and separated out the seeds for roasting. Then we cut the flesh into chunks, wrapped them in foil, and baked them until tender.

We peeled and pureed most of the chunks, but also cubed some of the firmer ones to use in other applications. It took all evening and we had pumpkin all over the kitchen, but it was quite fun. We had to cook the pumpkin in two batches as it would not all fit in our oven, but that gave us the chance in between to cut up and puree more pumpkin.

Friday, September 09, 2016

Pickled Bean Salad

I know, I know, I post abut bean salad a lot; but I also eat bean salad a lot and I always make different kinds of bean salad. This one features a mix of beans as well as a whole lot of pickles - pickled cucumber, pickled red onion, pickled mustard seeds, and pickled bell peppers. This makes for a colorful, flavorful, and nutritious bean salad all in one. The Vitamin C from the pickled peppers helps the body absorb more of the iron from the beans.

Thursday, September 08, 2016

Dad's 50th Birthday

Although I surprised my mother last month by coming home for her birthday, unfortunately I was unable to do the same for my father today. It had helped that my mother's birthday fell on a weekend. Nevertheless, I know my father had a good birthday celebration. Here is the classic cheesecake with strawberries my mother made for him, as well as a huge mug of coffee. 
Happy Birthday Dad! :)

Wednesday, September 07, 2016

Lemon Poppyseed Muffins

The key to really nice, really yellow lemon muffins? Lemon zest, lemon juice, lemon extract, and lemon bits. What are lemon  bits you ask? Small pieces of lemon that are candied and dehydrated. When stirred and baked into the muffin batter, they rehydrate and become little sweet lemon chips. A trick to get lemon muffins more yellow without adding artificial food coloring is to stir in a little dry turmeric in the batter. A little turmeric goes a long way so you won't add enough to taste is but just enough to color it.

Tuesday, September 06, 2016

Stir-Fry and Garlic Bread

Vegetable stir-fry with red bell pepper strips, shaved fennel, parsnip batons, kale leaves, onion, and macadamia nuts. The stir fry is starte din a hot pan with a little oil, sauteed for a very short amount of time, and then finished with an orange ginger sauce.
On the side is some toasty homemade garlic spread on homemade bread to make homemade garlic bread.

Monday, September 05, 2016

Chocolate, Vanilla & PB Cupcakes

This afternoon my roommate and I made peanut butter cupcakes with a vanilla pudding filling and peanut butter frosting. The chocolate cupcakes are a simple recipe that just happens to be vegan. The filling is vanilla pudding that we put in a piping bag, poked a hole in the center of each cupcake, and filled it. The frosting is simply peanut butter mixed with icing sugar and vanilla extract. Then we went kind of crazy just playing with different icing designs and tips to pipe on the cupcakes. 

Sunday, September 04, 2016

Bean Salad

You've heard of three bean salad. Well this is one of my combination of beans salad. I think it includes white navy beans, turtle beans, orange lentils, green mung beans, and split peas. Along with that, I put in chopped yellow, red, and orange bell peppers, pickled cucumber, pickled red onion, pickled mustard seeds, and some green curry seasoning. 

Saturday, September 03, 2016


Will I ever grow tired of posting about cinnamon rolls???? The answer is, absolutley not! I love cinnamon rolls, and there are so many different variations on cinnamon rolls; how to make cinnamon rolls, what to put in cinnamon rolls, etc. This version is a basic sweet bread yeast dough with a cinnamon sugar butter filling and later on, cream cheese frosting.

Friday, September 02, 2016

Steak Salad

Seared medium rare steak, sauteed bell peppers, toasted peanuts, red onion, and sesame seed dressing. Easy to throw together, and a different kind of main course, protein-rich salad that can be served cold.

Thursday, September 01, 2016

Summer Berry Trifle

Homemade angel food cake + homemade cherry pie compote + lemon pudding (from a box of course) + fresh blueberries + fresh strawberries = one delicious, classic summer trifle! Trifle is one of the easiest deserts to make - you can save time and use storebought ingredients, go all out and make everything from scratch, or simply use leftovers you have around. Trifle can be any combination of cake, brownies, or cookies, fruit, pudding, and extra toppings!