Untapped Grilling and Other Addictions

Archive for the category “Fancy Pants Cooking”

Well Well Well….ington

As many of you know the genius behind all the wonderful Barbeyaki recipes and imaginative uses is Chef John Woods, owner of First

Choice Catering.  John has been a friend and a mentor to Barbeyaki for some time now.

Well he just blew all of his past creations out of  the water with his latest.

Barbeyaki Beef Wellington


The Wellington

What you all need to know also is that Chef John loves to tell stories. So here is the Story of the Barbeyaki Beef Wellington.

Barbeyaki Beef Brisket Wellington


Chef, John Woods

First Choice Catering


One afternoon a long-time client called and asked me to prepare Beef Wellington for a luncheon they were having for several very distinguished visitors. Beef Wellington is a famous dish that was named after Arthur Wellesley who became for first Duke of Wellington after defeating Napoleon at the Battle of Waterloo in 1815. The Duke loved a tasteful dish that consisted of the choicest beef fillet, mushrooms, truffles and Madeira wine that had been cooked into a DUXELLES. Duxelles is something that every cook should add to their culinary repertoire. It is a mixture of finely chopped mushrooms, shallots and herbs that have been slowly cooked in butter and red wine until it forms a thick paste. Some people use only butter, but that is your preference. The beef is topped with the Duxelles, wrapped in puff pastry that has been gently brushed with an egg wash and baked. Wellington is usually accompanied by a complimentary sauce.The dish is not only elegant and tasteful, it is quite easy to prepare.

After coming off the heels of a great First Place win at the prestigious and very competitive Taste of Desoto with my Barbeyaki Beef Brisket Waffle Cone, the culinary creative juices were still working and I was still in “Barbeyaki mode.” I dashed from the kitchen, leaving my Executive Chef, Carol Singleton standing there in bewilderment and knee deep in production on the Wellingtons. A few minutes later I returned with a handful of miscellaneous ingredients that had no relationship to the menu or the task at hand. Totally oblivious to Chef Carol or any other activities in the kitchen I wrapped myself up in my own little world as I carefully cut peppers and onions along with thin strips of smoked Texas style beef brisket. Into a hot skillet went a little garlic and the julienne cut vegetable, which were sautéed until they took on a translucent appearance. It was now time to assemble the “mystery dish” as my staff continued to look on in disapproval of me abandoning my post.


Down on the cutting board went a sheet of puff pastry which was quickly topped with two tender pieces of sliced beef brisket, which was than topped with a layer of freshly sautéed peppers and onions. Reaching into my arsenal I pulled out my “Top Secret” Weapon, which a week earlier had catapulted me into the winners circle at the 10th Annual Taste of Desoto. When I was certain that no one was looking, I drizzled about a tablespoon of my favorite Barbeyaki sauce atop the brisket and vegetables and then garnished that with a sprinkle of shredded Smoked Gouda only to be topped by 2 more slices of brisket. Waiting for a moment when Chef Carol was distracted with her mere Beef Wellington preparation, I quickly snatched a tablespoon of her Duxelle and spread it atop the last layer of brisket. It was now time to wrap the concoction with another sheet of puff pastry. After sealing the edges of the pastry and applying a thin layer of egg wash, into the oven it went and I stood there, guarding my creation and eagerly awaiting the results.


I wish I had time to tell you how it turned out. Within minutes of removing my crowning culinary creation from the oven it was devoured by a pack of ravenous bystanders, leaving only a few flakes of pastry and a remnant of Barbeyaki sauce on the plate. My only thought was that if Daniel Boone would have had a Barbeyaki Beef Brisket Wellington at the Alamo, history may have been written a little differently. Maybe the Duke knew something old Daniel didn’t know.

Told you he likes to tell stories


Entrée Servings: 4

Appetizer Servings: 16



  • 3 ounces sliced smoked beef brisket per Wellington
  • 2 bell peppers of contrasting color (Green, Orange, Red, Yellow), ½ of each selected pepper cut into Julienne strips
  • ½ medium size sweet or red onion cut into Julienne strips. Finely chop and additional ¼ cup and set aside
  • ½ teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil or vegetable oil for sautéing vegetables
  • ¼ cup shredded Smoked Gouda or our favorite cheese.
  • 8 baby portabella mushrooms, finely chopped
  • 8 – 5” squares of Puff Pastry
  • ½ cup of your favorite Barbeyaki Sauce
  • Whites from 1 egg


Equipment Needed:

  • 1 cutting board
  • 1 Chef’s knife
  • 1 sauté skillet
  • Cooktop
  • Measuring spoons
  • Measuring cups
  • Kitchen brush
  • Small mixing bowl

Now for the Steps and Pics for us who need lots of help with Fancy Pants Cooking.


Step One: Sautee Julienne cut vegetables until translucent. Set aside in a small bowl and allow to cool.


Step Two:

Place two thinly sliced pieces of smoked brisket in the middle of a 5 inch square of puff pastry.


Step Three:

Drizzle the desired amount of your favorite Barbeyaki over slices of brisket and top with generous amount of sautéed vegetables and your cheese selection.


Step Four Not Pictured.

Top vegetables and cheese with too more slices of brisket. Top brisket with a tablespoon of Duxelle.

Step Five:

Place another 5 inch square of puff pastry on top of this and seal the edges with a fork.  A little moisture around the edges of the bottom piece of puff pastry will help the two pieces to seal together.


Step Six:

Put the Wellington on a lightly non-stick coated sheet pan. Brush the top completely with egg whites. Put a small slit in the top sheet of puff pastry so steam will escape. Place in a preheated 400 degree oven and bake until the crust becomes golden brown. Remove and allow to cool for about 4 minutes. Drizzle Barbeyaki over the top as a garnish and serve.


And Presto!


 Now looky ‘der all you barbecue mavens. Let’s see you try this one out on your smoker! And thanks Chef John for sharing.

This Wellington is grinning like a baked Possum

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Blind Date

senses shutterstock_106405568

What do a Blind Date and the Five Senses have to do with each other? 

Getting A Little Nervous?

Getting A Little Nervous?

Now add a blindfold to the equation and take away sight. Got your curiosity up yet?

Meat and Greet

Meat and Greet

Ok, I think I have you either starting to breath a little heavier or flat out afraid to scroll down. Don’t worry it is still me.

So what does all of this have to do with Barbeyaki? Absolutely nothing! But what it is all about is an intersting way to enjoy your

Next Family Dinner.

Welcome to The “Family Blind Date Dinner”.

Blind date because everyone will be blindfolded. And why will everyone be blindfolded????????

To discover the true enjoyment of Dining with a Sensory Overload.

Perfect Table Setting

Perfect Table Setting

Just start with a beautiful table setting while your guests are still not blindfolded so they can visually appreciate all your hard work.. Don’t over intoxicate them before the veiling as this will reduce their sensual perception. Before serving anything have them sit down, blindfolds on, and all join in to a verse or two of “Pop Goes The Weasel”

Then start the courses flowing. It is very important to properly think about the menu on this one. Every dish must take the Four Senses remaining to new levels. They must be puzzling and scary. They must make peoples minds go places.

Get Ihe Idea Now

Get Ihe Idea Now

Touch and Smell

Touch and Smell

Sounds: Bubbles Mixing with Acidity

Sound: Bubbles Mixing with Acidity

And to end the inquisitive evening, just before Dessert……………throw in a plate full of some unusual Balls for the final sensory “O” gasm.


Told you this would be an exciting, fun-filled Dinner. Just let your senses loose!

Thanks to Paula Jones and bell’ alimento for some great pictures and inspiration.

Well Doesn’t That Just Dill Your Pickle!

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Now when is the last time you thought about pizza when you grabbed your grilling sauce from the fridge? Ribs, Chicken, Steaks…….even fish.

But Pizza????

Chef John Woods from Horn Lake Mississippi trains up and coming chefs at his First Choice Catering Culinary School. And this weeks project was Barbeyaki Pizza.


We all know that Barbeyaki is the most versatile sauce on the market. I thought the use as a salad dressing was a little absurd until I tried it and loved it. But as a base sauce for a Pizza, it brings a slice of pie to a new level.


These are a few of the talented chefs that made they Barbeyaki Magic happen.


Now don’t that may your mouth water.

And if you are looking for another wild creation using God’s Grilling Sauce, take a look at this.

Barbeyaki Chicken Cacciatore


Now that is a good piece of chicken!

I am as happy as a rooster in a hen house!

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Cajun Zebra Stew

Cajun Zebra What???

Guess I kinda got you wondering about this recipe, Huh?  Well, don’t get your underpants all in a wad. I didn’t go out and shoot a Zebra if that’s what you were thinking. But the Zebra references a type of Black and White Bow-Tie Pasta I used in the stew. 

Zebra Bow-Tie Pasta

Zebra Bow-Tie Pasta

The Cajun part of this stew comes from three favorites of mine:

1.  Boudin Blanc Sausage from Lafayette Louisiana

2. Abita Amber Beer

 3. Peppadew Hot Chiles

Boudin Blanc Sausage

Boudin Blanc Sausage

Abita Amber Beer

Abita Amber Beer


Peppadews….about 1200 Scovilles!

Just take a couple bottles of Abita and poach the Boudin for about 45 minutes on Medium heat. Remove the sausage, reduce the Abita, add Sweet Butter and Flower to thicken along with those Peppadews. Set aside on a low heat.

While all of that is going on roast you some fresh Broccoli and Purple Cauliflower on 425 for 20 minutes seasoned with S&P.


Roasted Broccoli

Roasted Cauliflower

Roasted Cauliflower

Cook your Zebra Pasta for about 7 minutes and strain. The just pile all the pasta,roasted veggies, and sliced up Boudin Blanc Sausage into that warm Cajun Beer Sauce and get ready to slap yourself silly! This is one flavorful stew and it is actually very healthy for you (minus the beer).


Cajun Zebra Stew

This Stew Is Horse High,Bull Strong,Pig Tight, and Goose-proof

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Chicken Soup

The World’s Best Chicken Tortilla Soup !!

(and I mean it)

You Have To Try This Tonight!

You Have To Try This Tonight!

I rarely,rarely,rarely,suggest a recipe for y’all to try. So when I do, it is in your best interest to take me seriously. I am not a huge Soup Nut, nor am I a Mexican. But after making this soup last night, I want to be a Soup Nut and Tijuana……here I come!

Chicken Tortilla Soup with Black Beans and Corn

2T. Vegetable Oil or Grape Seed Oil (depends on how healthy you are)

1 1/2 Medium Onions (yellow)

3 Cups Finely Chopped, Peeled Carrots

1 1/2 Cups Finely Chopped Celery

******** If you are lazy like most, Trader Joe’s sells packaged Mirepoix (already finely chopped onions,carrots,and celery)




 3 Cloves Minced Garlic

2 tsp. Cumin

Pinch or two of Cayenne Pepper or three

2 tsp.dried Oregano

5 1/2 Cups Chicken Broth

3/4 Cup of Dry White Wine plus a nice big glass for you to drink while cooking



1 – 15 Oz. Can of Black Beans

1 – 14.5 oz. can of Fire Roasted Diced Tomatoes (Trader Joe’s)

I Cup Roasted Corn

1 tsp. Tabasco Sauce or two or three

2 tsp. Worcestershire Sauce ( What is this stuff?)

Salt and Pepper to taste

4 Cups Shredded Chicken ( I like to buy the Roasted Chicken at the store and just pull off the meat)


Now take yourself a big ole pot and heat up that vegetable oil. Sauté the onions for about 5 minutes and throw in the celery, garlic,carrots, cayenne, cumin, and Oregano. Stir and cook for about 6 to 8 minutes until all this stuff is soft. Then add the broth,wine, and beans. Bring to a boil and let simmer for 20 minutes.

Then add the tomatoes with juice and corn. Pour in the Tabasco and Worcestershire, salt and pepper, and plop in all the Chicken. Soups done.

Now for the absolutely necessary garnish:

1/2 Cup Vegetable Oil

6 Corn Tortillas (I like the Blue ones)

1/2 Cup Sour Cream

2 Ripe Avocados peeled and sliced

1/2 Cup Chopped Cilantro

2 Limes cut into wedges


Now cut up the tortillas into strips and fry with the oil. Serve your soup in your bowls and put a dollop of sour cream in the middle, surrounded by your sliced avocados. Sprinkle some cilantro all over and throw in the fresh tortilla strips.  Now sit back, pop open a bottle of Corona and watch your guests wet themselves!


If you are smart you will double this whole thing and freeze half of it. It is a lot of chopping and prepping but I promise it’s worth it.


I am so tired of chopping, I feel like a rubber nosed woodpecker in a petrified forest!

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Holiday Balls

Holiday Balls

Now that we have turned the corner from the Thanksgiving season of overstuffing ourselves and sleeping for two days straight, only to wake up and be pissed off to find 6 feet of dirty dishes and the smell of “Once-A- Year-Food-Odor” circumventing the house, it is now time to to reach for all the available stress of the next Holiday season…………Christmas…………..and………….Hanukkah!

It is time to forget about all those things we were so thankful for a week ago when we set aside a little bit of time to think about the people that had really shaped our lives over the past year, that had truly loved us unselfishly over the past year, that had sacrificed their lives for us this past year, and start making ourselves crazy, short-tempered, and neurotic. Oh don’t you just love this time of the year!

Well, I am going to attempt to soften this blow to our hearts and psyche, with some great food and humor. I apologize upfront if I offend anyone over the next 25 days or so. I am just trying to humor your depressive senses.

I am pretty sure most of you have watched Saturday Night Live (SNL for you younger folks) at some time of your life. My favorite times to tune in are Election years and Holidays. My favorite Holiday sketch is by far Schweedy Balls. An “NPR-LIke” Cooking Show featuring Alex Baldwin as Earthy Confectioner Pete Schweddy.

Just to jiggle your memory take a look at this!

Funny, Right?

Well, fortunately for me, I had the great fortune of tasting some of the best Holiday Balls on the entire planet during our Thanksgiving feast. These were called 

“Kate’s Balls”

Delightful Balls

“Kate’s Balls were very simple to make. These are made with Pumpkin Bread. Just take any of the wonderful Pumpkin Bread recipes you have hanging around, bake the loaf, and set it aside for cooling. After cooling, crumble the bread into a very fine texture in a bowl. Then take a pint of your favorite cream cheese and start mashing and mixing the entire mess together. Pretty soon you will have a slightly wet constancy that you can shape into your Own Balls. After your personalized Balls are shaped, refrigerate them while you start melting down chocolate. Any kind is fine, white,dark,milk…you name it. Once melted, take your Balls and coat them in the chocolate and place back on a waxed paper-covered cookie sheet and cool .

Close-Up of Kate’s Balls

Now it is your turn to get creative with your Holiday Balls. The sky is the limit. Banana Bread Balls dipped in Caramel……Zucchini Bread Balls dipped in White Chocolate. And if you really want to impress those In-Laws we recently talked about, put a stick in your Balls like Starbucks does and call them Holiday Pops.


So if you really want to truly send out some Holiday cheer to friends and love ones this Christmas or Hanukkah, get creative with your balls, or get your spouse to get creative with his Balls. You just never know.

Well Don’t That Put Some Rum In Your Fruitcake!

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Happy Thanksgiving!

Gobble Gobble

I bet you woke up this morning with mixed emotions, lots of anxiety, and hopefully, a deep sense of gratefulness. From what I have been seeing the last 10 to 15 years, Thanksgiving is still a time a family gathers together for some good ole’ bonding time. Mothers and Daughters, Wives and Husbands spend hours slaving in the kitchen only to be exhausted when that last plate is washed and put away, while the rest of the family is snoring so loud on the couch, the dog is pissed off. The huge build-up to this historical day comes and goes so quickly, we have tended to loose sight of what Thanksgiving is really all about.

Thanksgiving began in this country in 1621. It was celebrated by some folks from England who escaped tyranny and sailed dangerously across the North Atlantic ocean so that they could have religious freedom, not family and friend bonding, not overstuffed stomachs and exhaustion……..Religious Freedom! They thanked God for many things that First Thanksgiving:

1. They had survived the horrendous sea voyage on the rickety old sailboat.

2. They had not been attacked and savagely killed by the inhabitants they met upon arrival. Matter of fact, they became friends.

3. They thanked God for the harvest of food that he had provided them. For the wild turkeys that ran throughout the woods. They thanked God that they were not starving to death.

4. And most of all they were thankful for their freedom to pursue their God and worship with no fear.

So sometime before the chaos starts, and just before everyone starts the long nutritional nap, take a few minutes to think back on 1621, and why this holiday started in the first place. Think of how fortunate you are, how blessed you are. You can worship who you choose to, you are most likely not going to be scalped today, and you will be full.

I wanted to share a Thanksgiving menu with y’all that is a true blend of some great cooks and chefs around the country. You will see Southern influence as well as West Coast inflection in these dishes, and everywhere else too. But if you are looking for a few different, cool, ideas to serve this year, try one out and let me know what you think.

The Turkey

 Crisp Apple-Scented Roast Turkey with Cider-Calvados Gravy

Apple Roasted Turkey With Cider Gravy

Extra-virgin olive oil
1  10–12-lb. turkey
2 lbs. mixed chicken legs and thighs
1 cup kosher salt, plus extra for seasoning
1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper, plus more for seasoning
5 yellow onions
39 garlic cloves
4 carrots
4 celery ribs with leaves
1/2 cup calvados (apple brandy), plus 4 teaspoons
6 1/2 cups dry white wine
1⁄3 packed cup dark brown sugar
1⁄3 cup ground ancho chile powder
8 1/3 cups fresh apple cider
6 granny smith apples
2 lightly packed cups fresh basil leaves, plus 8 leaves for garnish
4 tbsp. softened butter
1⁄4 cup flour

1. The broth for the gravy may be made up to 3 days in advance. Lightly coat the bottom of a 12″ skillet with extra-virgin olive oil and heat over medium-high. Add the neck and giblets from the turkey and mixed chicken legs and thighs; season to taste with salt and pepper. Brown on both sides; transfer to a 6-quart pot. Pour half of the fat out of the skillet; heat over medium-high. Stir in 2 chopped yellow onions, 2 cloves crushed garlic, 2 whole cloves, 1 chopped carrot, and 1 chopped celery rib with leaves and cook until just browned, 12–14 minutes. Remove skillet from heat and add 1⁄4 cup of the calvados and 2 cups of the wine. Return to heat, bring to a boil, and scrape up the brown bits on the bottom of the skillet. Transfer the vegetable mixture to the 6-quart pot of meat. Add enough water to cover the mixture to a depth of 1″; bring to a slow simmer. Partially cover and cook, without stirring, for 4–5 hours. (Add more water as necessary to keep solids covered.) Remove from heat, let cool, strain (as shown), and refrigerate broth. You should have about 12 cups

2. A day before serving, brine the turkey, calculating 1 hour of brining for each pound. In a large plastic brining bag or stockpot, combine 1 cup of the salt, brown sugar, and chile powder. Put 2 cups of the cider, 35 cloves garlic, and 4 unpeeled, cored, and coarsely chopped granny smith apples into a food processor and purée. Add purée to the brining bag along with 6 cups of the cider and 4 quarts cold water. Whisk to dissolve the salt and sugar.

3. Put turkey into brining bag. The turkey must be kept cold (brine should be 33°), so refrigerate it or bury the bag in ice in an oversize cooler, adding ice as necessary. Before cooking, bring the turkey close to

4. Remove the oven’s center rack and arrange the remaining rack as low as possible. Heat oven to 450°. Choose a large shallow roasting pan, ideally 2″ deep; if the pan is too deep, the turkey will steam instead of roasting. In the pan, cluster together remaining celery ribs halved crosswise, leaves removed; remaining 3 carrots halved crosswise, and remainign 3 onions cut into thick rounds so that the vegetables become a sturdy rack for the turkey. Scatter 1 unpeeled, cored, and coarsely chopped granny smith apple and 1 1⁄2 cups basil leaves over the top. Add 4 cups of the wine to cover the bottom of the pan with 1⁄2″ of liquid.

5. Remove the turkey from the brine and pat it dry with paper towels. Set the turkey on the vegetables breast down (a technique that draws juices down into the breast while also protecting the meat from the heat) and tuck remaining unpeeled, cored, and coarsely chopped granny smith apple and remaining 1⁄2 cup basil leaves into the cavity. Dot the turkey with butter and dust all over with 1⁄2 tsp. pepper. Begin roasting.

6. As the bird cooks, baste it with the pan juices every 20 minutes using a spoon. After the first hour, remove the roasting pan from oven and, using two pot holders, carefully turn the turkey breast side up. Baste it with the pan juices and continue roasting. (Cover the turkey loosely with foil if it threatens to burn.) When an instant-read thermometer inserted in a thigh (without touching bone) reaches 165°–170° (after about 2 hours), move the turkey to a platter and let it rest in a warm place for 20 minutes.

7. Meanwhile, set the roasting pan over 2 burners to make the gravy. Skim off excess fat from pan juices and remove two-thirds of the vegetables from the pan. Cut the rest of the vegetables into small pieces. Add remaining 1⁄3 cup calvados, remaining 1⁄2 cup wine, and remaining 1⁄3 cup cider. Bring to a boil over high heat and, using a wooden spatula to scrape up all the caramelized bits, cook the liquid down to a syrup, 6–8 minutes.

8. Remove broth from refrigerator; skim off fat. Reheat all but 1 cup. Add two-thirds of the heated broth to the pan. Boil, stirring constantly, until reduced by half, about 15 minutes. Stir the remainder of the heated broth into the pan and bring to a boil. To thicken the gravy, add flour to a tall glass. Stir the 1 cup of reserved, chilled broth into the flour until there are no lumps. You’ve made a slurry. Whisk it into the bubbling gravy. Keep simmering and whisking until gravy is smooth and thick enough to lightly coat the back of a spoon, about 20 minutes. Now taste it. If you taste raw flour, simmer the gravy for another minute.

9. Stir 8 torn basil leaves into the gravy and season with kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, if necessary. Pour the gravy into a bowl or another serving vessel. Carve the turkey and arrange on a large platter. Serve with the gravy passed separately.

SERVES 8 – 10

The Appetizer

Spicy Pimento Cheese

Start The Meal Off With A Kick

It stinks.  It really stinks!  And yet, you keep leaning in to smell more.  It’s gross.  It’s really gross!  And yet, you can’t look away.  It tastes weird.  It tastes really weird!  And yet, you keep going in for another bite.

This scenario pertains to me as a kid and pimento cheese.  It scared me.  I wasn’t sure what it was.  The stuff was bright orange.  But, for some reason, I loved it.  It could have been that in my mind pimentos were some magical creatures, but it was yummy and weird, all at the same time.

I’d like to think my more mature, and delicate palate appreciates the subtle nuances that make this delicacy a staple on most Southern tables.  Or maybe, I just realized that it’s full of cheese and tiny little red things.

And to answer your question, pimentos are cherry peppers – round, red peppers with a sweet flavor and the ability to rock with some smoky cheese!

Spicy Pimento Cheese


6 ounces cream cheese, softened

8 ounces smoked cheddar cheese, shredded

8 ounces smoked Gouda, shredded

1/2 cup mayonnaise

1 4-ounce jar chopped pimentos

1 tablespoon grated onion

1/2 teaspoon liquid smoke

1/2 teaspoon paprika

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon pepper

1/4 teaspoon ground Chipotle pepper


In the bowl of a large mixer, fitted with the paddle attachment, beat cream cheese on medium speed, until fluffy.

Add cheddar, Gouda, mayonnaise, pimentos, onion, liquid smoke, paprika, salt, pepper and Chipotle pepper.  Beat on high for approximately 3 minutes, until ingredients are well combined.

Cover and chill for 2 hours.  Serve with crackers, veggies, or toasted baguette.

The Starch

Skinny Mashed Potatoes

Looks Mashed To Me

***Best Mock Mashed Potatoes Every Made***

What you will need:

  • 1 head of cauliflower
  • 1 tablespoon of cream cheese
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 teaspoon of minced garlic
  • 1/2 teaspoon of salt
  • 5 or so dashes of pepper
  • Chives for garnish


  1. Wash and cut cauliflower into small pieces. Boil in a pot of water for about 10-15 minutes or until soft and cooked.
  2. Drain and dry using paper towels. Immediately place in food processor or blender. You do not want the cauliflower to cool.
  3. Puree the cauliflower with the cream cheese, Parmesan cheese, garlic, salt and pepper.
  4. Sprinkle the top with chives and a few dashes of pepper. Serve!

These are seriously unbelievable!  Definitely make these for Thanksgiving. They are creamy and smooth, just like mashed potatoes should be. Such a delicious alternative… plus you don’t need to feel guilty if you go back for seconds or thirds since they are virtually carb free! This is also a great side dish to bring if you still plan on making the real thing.

The Greenery

Sesame Seed Garlic Beans

So Flavorful

Sesame Garlic Green Beans Recipe

fresh green beans, trimmed
olive oil or coconut oil for sautéing
lots of fresh minced garlic
sesame oil
lightly toasted sesame seeds
salt & pepper, to tasteDirections:
Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Toss in the green beans and sauté until the beans are starting to get golden and crisp (don’t let them get to the mushy stage!) toss in the garlic and let cook for a few seconds.Remove from the heat, drizzle with a bit of sesame oil, toss with the toasted sesame seeds and season with salt & pepper if you’d like.  Serve immediately!

The Dough

Caraway Parker House Rolls

Nothing Smells Better

  • ACTIVE: 45 MIN

The Parker House Hotel in Boston claimed to have invented these famously buttery pull-apart rolls. To create their unique shape, they are formed into rounds, folded in half, and arranged in a dish and baked. Using a metal pan gives the edges of the rolls a nice crust while the inside stays puffy and moist. Bread flour makes the rolls pleasantly chewy, but all-purpose flour works well too.

  1. 1 tablespoon active dry yeast
  2. 2 tablespoons sugar
  3. 1/4 cup warm water
  4. 1 1/2 cups milk
  5. 2 sticks unsalted butter, softened, plus more for the pan
  6. 5 1/2 cups bread flour
  7. 2 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
  8. 2 large eggs, beaten
  9. 1 teaspoon caraway seeds
  10. 1 teaspoon coarse sea salt, crushed
  1. In a small bowl, combine the yeast with the sugar and warm water and let stand until foamy, 5 minutes. In a medium saucepan, heat the milk with 10 tablespoons of the butter until just melted. Remove the saucepan from the heat and let cool slightly. Stir in the foamy yeast mixture.
  2. In the bowl of a standing electric mixer fitted with the dough hook, combine the flour with the kosher salt. With the machine on, gradually add the warm milk mixture and the eggs and beat at medium speed until a smooth, silky dough forms, about 10 minutes. Transfer the dough to a lightly oiled bowl, cover with plastic wrap and let rise until doubled in bulk, about 1 hour.
  3. Lightly butter a 9-by-13-inch metal baking pan. In a small saucepan, melt the remaining 6 tablespoons of butter over moderate heat. Punch down the dough and divide it into 24 pieces. Let the pieces rest for 5 minutes. Roll each piece of dough into a ball. Using buttered fingers, press the balls into 3-inch rounds. Brush all over with some of the melted butter and fold each one in half. Arrange the rolls in the prepared pan, seams down, in even rows. Brush any remaining melted butter over the rolls. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let rise until nearly doubled in bulk, about 1 hour.
  4. Preheat the oven to 350. Sprinkle the rolls with the caraway seeds and sea salt and bake in the center of the oven for 50 minutes, until puffy and golden. Transfer the pan to a rack and let cool for 15 minutes. Invert the rolls onto a platter, then invert them again onto the rack. Let cool slightly before serving.
MAKE AHEAD The rolls can be stored in an airtight container for up to 3 days at room temperature. Rewarm before serving.
The Potato
Ruth Chris Sweet Potato Casserole

3468 Calories Per Serving

Ruth’s Chris Special Sweet Potato Casserole
Recipe By :Ruth’s Chris
Serving Size : 0 Preparation Time :0:00
Categories : Try This
Amount Measure Ingredient — Preparation Method
——– ———— ——————————–
1 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup flour
1 cup chopped nuts (pecans preferred)
1/3 stick butter — melted
3 cups mashed sweet potatoes
1 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 eggs — well beaten
1 stick butter — ( 1/2 cup) melted
Combine brown sugar, flour, nuts and butter in mixing bowl. Set aside.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine sweet potatoes, sugar, salt, vanilla, eggs and butter in a mixing bowl in the order listed. Mix thoroughly. Pour mixture into buttered baking dish. Sprinkle the surface of the sweet potato mixture evenly with the crust mixture. Bake for 30 minutes. Allow to set at least 30 minutes before serving.

What A Top!

And Finally…The Dessert

The Apple Pie

Pretty, Right?

1 prepared pie dough, rolled out and sliced into strips
6-8 large apples (really any kind of apple will do)
1/3 cup sugar, plus more for sprinkling onto the crust
1/3 cup brown sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 or 1/2 tsp cardamom, if desired
1 tsp cornstarch
Juice of a lemon or lime, mixed with 1 cup of water
1 tbsp melted butter

Preheat the oven to 375F.

Core an apple, then use a melon baller or knife to hollow out the apple more, being careful not to go all the way through the skin. Make sure you save all the apple bits! Once the apple is hollow, submerge it briefly in the citrus water to keep it from browning too quickly. Turn the apple over to drain. Repeat this process with all the apples.

Slice the apple bits into smaller bits, and then mix them with the sugars, cinnamon, cardamom (optional) and cornstarch.

Place the hollowed out apples in a muffin tin. This will keep them from tipping during the baking process. Fill each apple with the bit mixture.

Take the long strips of pie dough and cut them into 4 inch strips. Then “weave” the strips together to create the square tops. (See this photo for reference) Place one square over each apple. Brush the dough with melted butter and sprinkle sugar over the top.

Bake for 30-35 minutes (until the dough is fully baked and the apples reach the desired tenderness). Once the apples have cooled, you can use a fork or spoon to remove them from the muffin pan. Serve with ice cream or a drizzle of caramel.

Now You Can Take That Nap

So whatever your plans are for Thanksgiving this year, I pray that you are grateful for all the blessing we have had throughout our lives. Thankful for the men and women who have fought and died to give us the freedom we enjoy and many times take for granted. And if you feel like it, talk about it over the wonderful meal that I am sure you are going to prepare.

Sometimes You’re the Windshield……..And Sometimes You Are the Bug

So Be Thankful When You Are The Windshield

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The Last Supper

Nope, I am not talking about Leonardo Da Vinci’s masterpiece of Christ last supper with his disciples. I am talking about my last supper on my month long jaunt to France and Belgium. I have shown you the best of France……Paris,Provence, you name it….I ate it. I have shown you the Waffles and Chocolate of Belgium.

So  what do you think I had for my Last Supper on this trip?

A Fricking Cheeseburger!!!!!!!

Ha! Ha! Ha! You thought it was some over the top unusual French Cuisine. Nope. I just really wanted a cheeseburger. Now I did ask the chef to give me some really good béarnaise sauce on the side, which I poured all over that burger. And I did have a big ole pot of wonderfully steamed clams on the side.

And I did have a Chocolate waffle for dessert too. And I did have a bottle of Louis Jadot Pinot Noir with my burger.

So it was not truly an All American Au Revoir. But it sure did taste good! Running to the train station now to catch a train to Paris and a flight home. It has been some kind of trip and I really appreciate you listening and tolerating my pathetic photography and writing skills. I hope it was not too painful.

So believe it or not I miss my barbecue and can’t wait to start grilling again. And it is the right time to plant my Winter garden now that it is finally cooling off in California. So if you are trying to get rid of me, I got lots more to blab about.

Talk to you soon.

Cooking Class In Avignon France

The La Mirande Cooking School

Well, I did it! Took my first cooking class in France. It has been a dream since I started getting into cooking as a side hobby to Barbecuing. And I think I picked a good one. The La Mirande Cooking School is one of a kind.The chef of La Mirande is François Secrétin who trained at the Feux des Iles in Britanny after which he worked in several Michelin starred restaurant such as l’Auberge de l’Atre (Burgundy) and l’Esplanade (Périgord).

The Chef

I guess the first thing I need to share with you about this day is that No One Spoke English! There were 12 of us in this class. One or two French couples and the rest were some really talented French ladies.It was a little uncomfortable at first since we didn’t know each other and we could not communicate. But soon we were best friends.

My Classmates Busy At Work

So here is what we learned to cook and bake:

1. Profiteroles

2. Thymus Gland Sweetbreads

3.Beef Tongue

4. Sole

5.Puffed Pastry Dough

6.Fish Broth ( Real fish bones from the sole we filleted)

7. Real French Buerre Blanc Sauce

8. Some of kind of fancy pants mushroom sauce

Freshly Baked Profiteroles

Thymus Gland Sweetbreads

Filleting the Sole

Puffed Pastry Shells

Fish Broth Simmering

Sautéing Some Beautiful Carrots

After Five exciting and challenging hours, alot of laughing, and believe or not….we sang French songs as we cooked. But it was finally time to enjoy what we had learned and prepared. WE all sat down at a beautifully set table covered in wine glasses which were filled with each and every course.

The Table

Then came the plating.

ePuffed Pastry Shell Stuffed with Sweetbread,Chicken,and Beef Tongue in a Mushroom Sauce

Sole in Buerre Blanc Sauce

The day ended with some very tired but inspired French Cooking Students who had been humbled by our chef. Lots of food,wine,and fun, and most of all…… friends.

The Graduates

Oh, and did I mention that the dude that calls himself “The Worlds Most Interesting Man” had lunch with us. Turns out his wife was one of the students.

THe World’s Most Interesting Man

So that concludes my first but not my last French Cooking School. It was great. I believe I failed to tell you in the beginning that everything was cooked on a very old wood burning stove! This place is one of the best. Thanks to the Schools Director, Severine Sagnet, who took good care of my friend George and I. 

Merci Severine

One Humbled Messieur

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5 Star Provence Dining

La Bastide du Capelongue

Ok.This is it. The top of the world…..the greatest cuisine ever prepared,the most wonderful ambiance in Europe…….I can go on and on.  Las Bastide du Capelongue is located just outside of the beautiful mountaintop city of Bonnieux France. It is also located on one of the most breath taking, cliff hanging, winding roads I have ever driven. So for God’s sake… of you better stay sober. Save all your money,cut back on the stupid trinkets at the markets, have Quick Burger for lunch instead of a Bistro and make this Restaurant a Must!

Chef Edouard Loubet

Chef Edouard Loubet will blow your mind with taste,texture,and plating like you have never witnessed.

The Dining Room

It all started with a glass of , of course, very expensive Champagne and some delightful little treats.

Anchovie and Asparagus Puree with Polenta Fried Cheese Balls

Crazy Little Cones of Lobster Mousse Parked in a Bed of Paprika Salt

Out of This World Scallops

Herb Cart

This if the Herb Cart. It is parked right outside your table where you are able to view the live herbs that were utilized in tonight dinner. Pretty Impressive…Huh??

Oh, I forgot to mention you can stay at this place also. It’s lovely and quite expensive. So unless you are Mr. Moneybags..go for the dinner and sleep somewhere else while you dream about it.

The Grounds

Bon Appetite

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