Thursday, April 26, 2012

TANGELO-GINGER-BANANA SYRUP

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Making your own homemade syrup is as close as the crisper in your refrigerator. Here’s a very simple recipe that tastes very gourmet.


TANGELO-GINGER-BANANA SYRUP

Courtesy of Chef Jeff Calley © 2012


Ingredients:

2 tangelos, juiced and zested
1/2 cup brown sugar
1” piece of fresh ginger root, peeled, juice only
1/8 teaspoon cinnamon, powdered
4 tablespoons butter
1 banana, in 1/2” slices

Directions:

Put the tangelo juice in a small sauce pan and simmer over low-medium heat for 5 minutes. Add the remaining ingredients (including the tangelo zest) except for the banana and continue cooking till the sugar has dissolved. Add the bananas and heat another minute.

Serve hot, over waffles, French toast, pancakes, or even ice cream.


Have you got a great recipe, cooking tip or food story to share with the Too Fun Chefs? Email us and we might just share them with everyone else out there listening. Email: Jackie & Jeff

PICKLED EGGS - RUBY COCKTAIL EGGS

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Pickling eggs and other foods is fun, and falls under the category of home canning. It's very important to understand how to properly can foods at home, particularly when it comes to sanitations and preventing those little beasties known as bacteria. Before you launch on your canning of pickled eggs, take a few minutes to understand sterilization processes at this link for the National Center for Home Food Preservation. Practicing safe food handling it critical to keeping your family and friends healthy.

At the bottom of this post, you'll find an idea for quick pickled eggs for a cocktail party. They're called Ruby Cocktail Eggs, and you don't have to follow such strict sanitization procedures because you'll use them right away.


PICKLED EGGS

Courtesy of Chefs Jackie Olden and Jeff Calley © 2012


PICKLED EGGS (SIMPLE)

Ingredients:

s 16 hard-boiled eggs, peeled
1/2 ounce black peppercorns
1/2 ounce whole ginger, chopped
1/2 ounce allspice
1 quart vinegar

Directions:

Pack eggs into pre-sterilized, wide-mouthed jar. Boil spices in vinegar 10 minutes, then pour over eggs. Cool and seal.


PICKLED EGGS

Ingredients:

18 hard-boiled eggs, peeled
2 cups white vinegar
1 1/2 quarts water
2 teaspoons salt
Spice bag
1 small dry red pepper
1 tablespoon mixed pickling spices

Directions:

Make pickling solution from vinegar, water and salt and when boiling add eggs and bring to a boil again. Pack in hot sterilized jars. Cover completely with pickling solution and seal immediately. May be pickled with beets for color.


RUBY COCKTAIL EGGS

Ingredients:

1 can boiled quail eggs
1 can pickled beets

Directions:

Drain the liquid off the canned quail eggs and put into a container with a sealable lid (or just a bowl that you can cover with plastic film). Open the beet can and pour the liquid into the same container with the eggs. Reserve the beets for use in a salad or other dish. Seal the container with the eggs and beet juice and refrigerate for 24 hours. The eggs will absorb the liquid and become a beautiful ruby color. Serve with other cocktail appetizers, or with carrot and celery sticks.

You can buy boiled quail eggs in cans at your local Asian grocery store, or just buy fresh quail eggs and boil and peel them. If all else fails, use hen eggs and when serving, slice them in half.


Have you got a great recipe, cooking tip or food story to share with the Too Fun Chefs? Email us and we might just share them with everyone else out there listening. Email: Jackie & Jeff

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

HOULIGAN PANCAKES (aka DUTCH BABIES)

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The pancake family is quite diverse. There's some type of pancake in almost every culture. Some made with corn, many with wheat, and even those made with rice. Fewer are more simple and surprisingly distinct than the kind baked in the oven, with their curled up edges. Houligan Pancakes, or Dutch Babies as some call them, can be served simply with powdered sugar and a lemon wedge squeezed across it. Kids and adults love them.


HOULIGAN PANCAKES (aka DUTCH BABIES)

Courtesy of Chefs Jackie Olden and Jeff Calley © 2012


Ingredients:

1/2 cup butter, melted
1 cup flour
1 cup milk
6 eggs
salt to taste

Pour melted butter into a 9x13 inch pan in the oven. Meanwhile, mix together the flour, milk, and eggs and salt to taste. Pour over melted butter.

Bake 25 minutes at 425°. Edges will curl. Serve with fresh fruit, syrup or your favorite jam.

Serves 6


Have you got a great recipe, cooking tip or food story to share with the Too Fun Chefs? Email us and we might just share them with everyone else out there listening. Email: Jackie & Jeff

CROSTINI - GREAT START TO GREAT APPETIZERS

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Elegant appetizers can be very simple to make. And one of the easiest to make starts with a good crostini. Crostini is merely a piece of toasted bread, usually slices of a good French baguette. You can make crostini several days in advance of the day you're going to serve them, keeping them nice and crisp in a ziplock bag. They keep well either in the fridge or out of it. Top with chopped tomatoes, basil and seasoning to make a bruschetta, use mascarpone cheese and top with other things (below), or make up your own toppings.


CROSTINI - GREAT START TO GREAT APPETIZERS

Courtesy of Chef Jeff Calley © 2012


Ingredients:

1 French baguette
Olive Oil
Kosher Salt
Fresh ground white pepper

Set your oven temperature at 350 degrees. Slice the baguette on the bias in 1/2” slices and lay flat on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Brush each slice on the side facing up generously with olive oil. Grind Kosher salt and pepper across the slices. Place in the oven for about 15 minutes, until nicely toasted and crunchy. Rotate the pan half way through. Serve with a layer of Mascarpone cheese and your favorite topping.


Crostini Toppings:

Olive tapenade
Roasted red peppers
Capers
Smoked Salmon
Bacon wrapped, oven baked dates or figs
Fried calamari rings
Herbed fruit


Have you got a great recipe, cooking tip or food story to share with the Too Fun Chefs? Email us and we might just share them with everyone else out there listening. Email: Jackie & Jeff

Monday, April 23, 2012

ZESTY HOLLANDAISE SAUCE

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This classic sauce includes the use of lemon zest in the recipe, which adds an additional layer of flavor. Use it on steamed vegetables, like asparagus, or on your Sunday brunch of Eggs Benedict.


ZESTY HOLLANDAISE SAUCE

Courtesy of Chefs Jeff Calley © 2012


Ingredients:

3 egg yolks
1 teaspoon water
12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) butter, cold
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 small lemon, juice and zest
pinch of cayenne pepper

Directions:

Choose a medium size sauce pan, and a mixing bowl slightly larger that will fit down into it. A double boiler works perfectly.

In s separate pan, melt the butter, but do not let it boil. Set it aside.

Put about 2 inches of water into the pan, but not enough to touch the bottom of the mixing bowl or top of double boiler. Heat the water in the pan over medium heat till the water simmers and then reduce to low.

Place the mixture over the the heated water and whisk 3 to 5 minutes, or until the mixture doesn’t run immediately back together.

Remove the bowl from over the pan and gradually add the butter, a spoonful or small ladle full at a time. Whisk each butter addition thoroughly till incorporated. Repeat the procedure until all the butter is incorporated. If necessary, put the mixture back over the simmering water to warm it again. Add the salt, lemon juice and zest and cayenne. The Hollandaise should be the consistency of crepe batter, or very thin pancake batter. If its too thick, you can add a teaspoon at a time of the hot water from the pan till it’s just right.

Serve this sauce warm, or keep it warm inside a thermos till you’re ready to use it.


Have you got a great recipe, cooking tip or food story to share with the Too Fun Chefs? Email us and we might just share them with everyone else out there listening. Email: Jackie & Jeff

Friday, April 20, 2012

CLEAR SOUP & CONSOMME

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There's nothing inherently wrong with a soup or stock that's cloudy. They're really quite delicious. But, when you want to present a sophisticated dish, whether it be a nice won ton soup or to see elegantly cut vegetables floating in a rich and delicious clear soup, there are a couple of techniques you can use to achieve beautiful results.

CLEAR SOUPS AND CONSOMME

Courtesy of Chefs Jeff Calley and Jackie Olden © 2012

Method #1:

In order to clear soup, first cool, then add the crushed shells and slightly beaten whites of two eggs. Heat slowly, beating constantly and boil for five minutes. Remove from the heat and allow to cool for 20 minutes and then strain the shells through a strainer lined with layers of cheesecloth.

Note: This method may not produce results as clear as Method #2 below.

Method #2: Consommé:

Consomme is a clear broth derived from soup stocks. It’s full of flavor, minus the cloudiness of a soup stock. Begin making consomme by selecting a lean grind of whatever meat your stock is made from.

1/2 pound lean meat, ground
4 ounces onion, chopped
2 ounces celery, chopped
2 ounces carrots, chopped
4 ounces egg whites (about 4 egg whites)
4 ounces tomatoes (or canned, crushed tomatoes, drained)
3-4 parsley stems, chopped
1 sprig of fresh thyme (or a pinch of dried)
1 bay leaf, crushed
5 peppercorns
2 1/2 quarts of stock, cold

Directions:

In a tall pot, mix all ingredients (except the stock) with your hand or a whisk till very well blended. Mix in 2 cups of the cold stock, and blend well with the other ingredients and let it sit undisturbed for half an hour. Stir in the remaining cold stock, a little at a time, until well blended.

Set the pot on a low-medium heat and bring it just to a very low simmer, stirring gently on occasion. By this time, most of the solid ingredients will have floated to the surface, creating a “raft” at the top. Using a one ounce ladle, pull broth from below the raft through a hole made in the center and gently pour around the raft’s edge. Continue this process until the desired clarity of your consomme is achieved. This may take anywhere from 30 to 90 minutes.

You can either slowly strain off the solids through a sieve lined with several layers of cheese cloth, or carefully ladling out the liquid through the raft, into another clean container.

Consomme is not necessarily transparent. A good consomme may have a golden hue to the otherwise transparent liquid. There is no right or wrong color as long as there are no solids floating in it.


Have you got a great recipe, cooking tip or food story to share with the Too Fun Chefs? Email us and we might just share them with everyone else out there listening. Email: Jackie & Jeff

Thursday, April 19, 2012

PINEAPPLE SOUFFLE

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Aren't we all looking for things that are easy but look like they were really hard to make? This recipe has been around a long time, and it uses the simplest ingredients and methods of preparation, but it's going to surprise you how delicious it is. This dish has been pleasing food lovers for generations, but it’s almost been forgotten. It’s so easy and you’ll be asked for the recipe.

PINEAPPLE SOUFFLE

Courtesy of Chef Jeff Calley © 2011

Ingredients:

4 Tablespoons butter (1/2 stick)
3/4 cup brown sugar
4 eggs, beaten
1 (20 ounce) can crushed pineapple , drain half the juice and reserve it
5 slices white bread, crust removed, roughly 1/2” squares

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Melt the butter in a microwave till just liquified. Allow the butter to cool for a minute, then mix in the brown sugar. Add the beaten eggs and combine well. Add the drained pineapple. Fold in the bread cubes just until incorporated. The mixture should be wet, but not soupy. If it’s too dry, add a tablespoon or two of the reserved juice. Turn into a 1 1/2 quart casserole dish that has been sprayed with cooking oil. Cook in oven for 45 minutes to one hour, until the casserole is set and lightly browned on top.


Have you got a great recipe, cooking tip or food story to share with the Too Fun Chefs? Email us and we might just share them with everyone else out there listening. Email: Jackie & Jeff

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

SAFFRON or AZAFRAN? ETHNIC SPICES. PAELLA

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For the majority of Americans, food has become more about packaging and beauty than about quality and affordability. We've seen bottles of bay leaves on the shelves in your traditional spice section with as few as 5 leaves in them for $5 to $10. If you step a few aisles away to the Latino section, you'll find the same bay leaves packaged in 1 pound cellophane bags for under $5. That's a huge difference in your food budget.

You'll find dozens of other similar examples of very affordable dried spices in ethnic sections of major grocery stores and at wholly ethnic grocery stores. One such product is Azafran (the Spanish word for Saffron). Though not technically the same spice, Azafran is the stamen of the Safflower while Saffron is the stamen of the Crocus. In our tests, very few people can tell the difference between the two, either in taste or the color they both give food. An astute gourmand would notice the slight difference between the threads of stamens, Azafran being somewhat thicker.

Saffron can cost $80 to $100 an ounce. The same amount of Azafran will set you back $1.79.

Check out all the wonderful identical spices and experiment from your ethnic markets and spice aisles. You'll be surprised. Pleasantly.

SAFFRON OR AZAFRAN? ETHNIC SPICE SECTION - PAELLA

Courtesy of Chefs Jeff Calley and Jackie Olden © 2012

Below is a side-by-side glimpse of Saffron (left) and Azafran (right)



PAELLA

Ingredients:

2 chicken breasts, halved, skinned and boned
1 tablespoon butter
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1 pound raw shrimp, shelled and deveined
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon parsley, snipped
1 pound scallops
1 cup uncooked rice
2 cups chicken broth
Pinch saffron (or substitute Azafran from your local latino spice section)
1 (10-ounce) package frozen peas, thawed
1 tablespoon pimento, diced

Directions:

Place thicken breasts in an 8 inch square baking dish, with thicker portions to outside edge of dish. Cover with wax paper. Microwave at MEDIUM HIGH (70%) until tender, 7 to 8 minutes. Set aside.

Place shrimp, butter and garlic powder in a 9 inch pie dish. Cover with wax paper. Microwave at HIGH (100%) until shrimp turns pink, 3 to 4 minutes. Set aside.

Place 1 tablespoon butter in a shallow glass dish. Microwave at HIGH (100%) until melted, 30 to 45 seconds. Stir in parsley. Place scallops in butter sauce. Cover with wax papers Microwave at HIGH (100%) until tender, 4-1/4 to 5 minutes. Set aside. Place rice, broth and saffron in a 3 quart casserole. Cover with plastic wrap. Microwave at HIGH (100%) until tender, 14 to 17 minutes, stirring twice during cooking time. Stir in peas and pimentos. Cover with plastic wrap. Microwave at HIGH (100%) 3 minutes.

Mix shrimp and scallops into rice. Place chicken breasts on top. Cover with plastic wrap. Microwave at MEDIUM HIGH (70%) until heated, 4 to 5 minutes.

Makes 4 generous servings.


Have you got a great recipe, cooking tip or food story to share with the Too Fun Chefs? Email us and we might just share them with everyone else out there listening. Email: Jackie & Jeff

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

JEFF'S MAGICAL MAC N' CHEESE

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So many great mac n' cheese recipes, so little time. So, get started with this one. It's fast, easy and super delicious with the smooth creaminess you expect in a really great mac n' cheese recipe. The secret here is the brie. Try panko bread crumbs for the topping for extra crunchy topping. Throw a little parmesan on top in the last minutes of browning. Go cheese wild and try your own favorite blend of hard and soft ripened cheeses. Three cheers for mac n' cheese!

JEFF'S MAGICAL MAC N' CHEESE

Courtesy of Chef Jeff Calley, © 2011

Ingredients:

1/2 pound macaroni, or your favorite shape small pasta
3 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup onion finely diced
3 tablespoons flour
1/8 teaspoon cayenne
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 cups milk
8 ounces sharp cheddar, shredded
6 ounces brie cheese, rind removed
Fresh black pepper

Toppings:

4 ounces sharp cheddar, shredded
3 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup bread crumbs

Directions:

Preheat you oven to 350 degrees.

Fill a large pan with salted water and bring to a boil. Cook pasta to al dente.

In another pan over a low-medium heat, melt the butter and add the diced onions, sauteing till just soft. Add the flour and heat till combined with butter and all lumps are smoothed out, for about two minutes. Add the cayenne, paprika, and salt to combine. Add the milk and continue heating will the mixture is smooth and slightly thickened, about 10 minutes.

Stir in the cheeses until melted in. Add the drained pasta to this mixture and pour into a 2 quart casserole dish that’s been sprayed with cooking spray.

Sprinkle the top with the cheddar for toppings. In a small pan, melt the butter and add the bread crumbs to coat them evenly. Sprinkle the crumbs on top of the pasta. Bake in the oven for 30 minutes.


Have you got a great recipe, cooking tip or food story to share with the Too Fun Chefs? Email us and we might just share them with everyone else out there listening. Email: Jackie & Jeff

Monday, April 16, 2012

LATKES (POTATO PANCAKES)

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Latke's are a prefect addition to many meals. They're easy to make, and fast to cook. No matter your cultural tradition, potatoes are a staple in most American homes and a satisfying food. Shake up our recipes here to make your own Latke tradition.

LATKES (POTATO PANCAKES)

Courtesy of Chef Jackie Olden © 2012


LATKE HINTS

There are lots of potatoes to choose from when making potato pancakes. If you choose a red potato, I recommend peeling them. However with the white potatoes, don't peel them. Their skin is softer than the others. Always scrub well first. Some folks prefer to grate the potatoes by hand. This method produces a less gummy product, but with the advent of the food processor or salad shooter it can be done in no time at all. When using this method, run potatoes under cold water to remove the excess starch. Pat dry.


SPINACH LATKES

Ingredients:

1 pound white potatoes, unpeeled
1 (10 ounce) package frozen, chopped spinach, thawed and drained
3 eggs, beaten
1 small onion, chopped
1/4 cup cornstarch
1/4 cup matzo meal
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon oregano
Salt and pepper
Oil for frying

Directions:

Grate potatoes using food processor. Remove, rinse and blot dry. Insert steel blade, process half of the potatoes with half of the spinach, pulse on and off 5-6 times just until combined; remove to large bowl. Process remaining potatoes and spinach; add to bowl. Add remaining ingredients, mix well by hand to combine. Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. When hot, drop 1/4 cup batter for each latke, smooth top, and cook until golden brown and crisp, turning only once. Drain on paper towels.

Variations (in any combination):
Add 2 grated carrots
Add can (8 oz) corn, drained
Add 1 cup ricotta cheese
Add 1 small can diced green chilies, drained
Add 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese



SOUR CREAM LATKES (POTATO PANCAKES)

Ingedients:

2 pounds Idaho potatoes (3 large)
2 eggs
1 small onion, grated (1/4 cup)
1 container(8-ounces) dairy sour cream
1/2 cup sifted all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon white pepper
Vegetable oil, for frying
Cranapple sauce (optional)

Directions:

Pare potatoes. Shred coarsely into large bowl of cold water. Drain; then rinse potatoes under cold running water. Squeeze firmly in clean linen toweling to remove as much water as possible.

Beat eggs in large bowl until frothy. Stir in potatoes, onion, sour cream, flour, salt, baking powder, and pepper.

Heat 1/4-inch depth of oil in large skillet over medium heat. Working in batches to avoid overcrowding pan, carefully drop potato mixture by tablespoonfuls into hot oil. Flatten with pancake turner to make even thickness. Cook about 3 minutes or until brown on underside. Turn and brown other side for about another 3 minutes. Drain on paper toweling. Serve warm with cranapple sauce, if you wish.



BASIC LATKES (POTATO PANCAKES)

Ingredients:

4 potatoes
1 tablespoon grated onion
1 tablespoon sour cream
1 large egg
1/3 cup all purpose flour
Salt to taste
Oil

Directions:

Grate and peel potatoes. Squeeze out some of the moisture. Add remaining ingredients. Drop batter by heaping tablespoonfuls into hot fat and fry until crisp and brown on both sides. Drain on paper towels. Serve hot with applesauce, sour cream or apricot or prune puree.



Have you got a great recipe, cooking tip or food story to share with the Too Fun Chefs? Email us and we might just share them with everyone else out there listening. Email: Jackie & Jeff

Thursday, April 12, 2012

EASY CHOCOLATE TRIFLE

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The first recipe for Trifle was from a cookbook published in 1596 in England. Recipes vary greatly, but its essentially a layered desert, usually in a clear glass container, sometimes atop a pedestal. Alternate layers of cake (sometimes soaked in a flavored alcohol), custard, gelatin and whipped cream are typical. Use your imagination to come up with your own creations, but use the one below for fast, delicious results.

EASY CHOCOLATE TRIFLE

Courtesy of Chefs Jackie Olden © 2012


Ingredients:

1 box chocolate cake mix
1 cup coffee flavored liquor
2 small cartons whipping cream
2 boxes (small size) instant chocolate pudding
3 1/2 cups milk
6 chocolate covered toffee candy bars, crushed

Directions:

Make cake according to package instructions. After cooling, poke holes in cake and pour Kahlua over it. Refrigerate overnight. When ready to assemble trifle, whip cream. Add milk to pudding and beat according to package instructions. Cut cake into cubes. Layer in a clear glass serving bowl, 1/3 of cake, pudding , whipped cream, crushed candy bars. Repeat layering 2 additional times ending with whipped cream and crushed candy bars. This will serve 16 to 20 and you will enjoy this all year long.


Have you got a great recipe, cooking tip or food story to share with the Too Fun Chefs? Email us and we might just share them with everyone else out there listening. Email: Jackie & Jeff

REMOVING SKIN FROM FRUIT

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Chefs will tell you that you eat first with your eyes, then with your nose, and lastly with your mouth. Food is very visual, and making your look good is important to the overall dining experience for your family and friends. Take a little extra time preparing your fresh fruits and vegetables by properly skinning, or peeling, them. Here are some tips to help you along.

REMOVING SKIN FROM FRUIT

Courtesy of Chefs Jackie Olden and Jeff Calley © 2012


For tomatoes, plums, peaches and similar fruits with thin skins:

1. Bring a large pan of water to boil
2. Score the bottom side of the fruit with a knife in an X mark.
3. Dunk the scored fruit into the hot water for 30 seconds to one minute (until skin begins to peel away from the score marks
4. Retrieve the fruit with a slotted spoon and allow to cool on a paper towel
5. The skins will simply slip off the fruit

It's just that easy. Cut your fruit and remove the seeds. Use your thumbs to remove seeds from tomatoes to make your fresh salads last longer and look more beautiful.


Have you got a great recipe, cooking tip or food story to share with the Too Fun Chefs? Email us and we might just share them with everyone else out there listening. Email: Jackie & Jeff

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

TEXAS HASH - TWO WAYS!

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Hash often times refers to left-overs reinvented. And sometimes those reinventions are so delicious, you just have to make it from scratch. Here are a couple just such recipes you can make fresh.

TEXAS HASH - TWO WAYS!

Courtesy of Chefs Jackie Olden © 2012


TEXAS HASH - Version 1

Ingredients:

Oil
2 onions, chopped
2 green peppers, chopped
1 pound ground meat, your choice of type
Salt and pepper to taste
1 teaspoon chili powder
2 1/2 cups canned tomatoes
1 cup cooked rice or spaghetti

Directions:

Brown onions and peppers in oil. Add meat and cook until meat looses pink color. Add remaining ingredients and blend. Place in a covered casserole and bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes.

Serves 4 to 6


TEXAS HASH - Version 2

Ingredients:

2 pounds ground beef
Salt & pepper to taste
1 large onion, chopped
1 1/2 cups celery
1/2 cup regular rice, uncooked
1 1/2 teaspoons chili powder
1 (16-ounce) can tomato sauce
1 () can tomato puree
Cheese, grated

Brown beef and season to taste. Place meat in casserole dish and sprinkle with and celery. Place rice vegetables. Mix chili powder in tomato sauce and puree and pour mixture. Cover and bake at 350 degrees 1 hour 30 minutes until rice is . Sprinkle cheese top and bake just until cheese melts. Serves to 4 to 6.


Have you got a great recipe, cooking tip or food story to share with the Too Fun Chefs? Email us and we might just share them with everyone else out there listening. Email: Jackie & Jeff

VINAIGRETTES - SO EASY!

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A vinaigrette is the world's simplest salad dressing. And you can use them as bastes for meats you're cooking as well. A vinaigrette is just a method of mixing oil and vinegar into a suspension, or an emulsion. By whisking two parts oil with one part vinegar, you can really go places. Olive oil is hard to beat, but you can substitute almost any type of oil you want. Use plain or flavored vinegars. And, then you just add the flavors you want to accent. Mustard is a frequent addition, and just about any herb you can thing of will compliment the dish you're putting your vinaigrette on. Go wild with your flavors by putting some fresh fruit into it -- experiment. So easy. So delicious!

VINAIGRETTES - EASY!

Courtesy of Chefs Jackie Olden and Jeff Calley © 2012


CREAMY MUSTARD VINAIGRETTE
Ingredients:

1/3 cup tarragon vinegar
2/3 cup olive oil
1/3 cup crumbled Gorgonzola cheese
1 tablespoon lemon juice
Freshly ground black pepper

Directions:

Whisk together the tarragon vinegar and olive oil till the oil is suspended in the vinegar. That, friends, is called an "emulsion". Stir in the other ingredients and use to dress lettuce that's been well washed, and very well dried in a salad spinner or with paper towels.

RED WINE VINAIGRETTE
Ingredients:

1/4 cup good-quality red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon dry mustard
1 1/2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
Salt and freshly milled black pepper, to taste
3/4 cup olive oil (or a bit more, depending on the acidity of the vinegar)

Method:

Manual method: In a bowl, whisk together the vinegar and the seasonings; mix thoroughly, until the salt dissolves. Begin adding the oil, drop by drop, whisking until emulsified. Then begin adding the oil in a thin stream and whisk constantly until creamy and smooth.

Machine method: Using a food processor or blender, combine the vinegar with the seasonings and process until the salt dissolves.

With the machine running, slowly add the oil, drop by drop, processing until emulsified. Gradually begin adding the oil in a thin steady stream, and process until it is well incorporated and the vinaigrette is creamy.

Store in the refrigerator. This vinaigrette will keep indefinitely.

Makes 1 cup


Have you got a great recipe, cooking tip or food story to share with the Too Fun Chefs? Email us and we might just share them with everyone else out there listening. Email: Jackie & Jeff

Monday, April 9, 2012

SWISS RICE BAKE

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Hi kids! Did you miss us while we were away gathering more delicious recipes for you? Well, we're back and have a lot of new things for you. We're glad to see you!

Casseroles just make good sense. Use simple ingredients and some standard tips and you can't go wrong. Shake up a favorite recipe by adding some different ingredients. Use shrimp, cubed chicken, seasoned browned ground beef or even a sweet lobster in the recipe below and you'll have a winner!

SWISS RICE BAKE

Courtesy of Chef Jackie Olden © 2012


Ingredients:

2 cups Swiss cheese, grated
1/2 stick butter or margarine
1 can (4 1/2 ounces) mushrooms, sliced
1/4 teaspoon dill weed
3 eggs, beaten
1 cup milk
1 cup diced cooked meat
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon marjoram
1 cup raw rice

Directions:

Cook rice according to package directions. Heat milk and butter in a saucepan or microwave. Combine all the ingredients and place in a shallow 1 1/2 quart greased casserole. Bake in a 350 degree oven for 45 minutes, or until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean.

Serves 6

Have you got a great recipe, cooking tip or food story to share with the Too Fun Chefs? Email us and we might just share them with everyone else out there listening. Email: Jackie & Jeff

Thursday, March 8, 2012

PARTY TIP: CELL PHONE STACKING

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Have you got a great tip to share with the Too Fun Chefs about how to have a successful party? Email us your tips and we might just share them with everyone else out there listening. Email: Jackie & Jeff

PARTY TIP: STACKING

Courtesy of Chef Jeff Calley © 2012


Ingredients:

1 cell phone, per person, ringer turned off
1 flat surface
1 cup undivided attention
3 juicy topics to share
1/2 pound mingle

Directions:

Invite your guests to place their cell phones, ringer turned off, on a table near the door. The attention, topics and mingling will happen organically.

What other tips do you have to insuring your guests engage with each other?

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

7 O’CLOCK PORK RIBS

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We call this recipe 7 O’Clock Pork Ribs because you put them in at 7:00 in the morning, and they’re done at 7:00 in the evening. You can cook these ribs for 12 to 14 hours and they come out fork tender. Bones just slip right out.


7 O’CLOCK PORK RIBS

Courtesy of Chef Jeff Calley, © 2012


Ingredients:

2 baby back pork ribs, about a pound each, rinsed and dried
Salt and Pepper
1 green bell pepper, diced
1 red bell pepper, diced
1 jalapeno, diced
3 tablespoons chili powder
1 cup olive oil
1 large onion, diced
1 large can tomato sauce
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup vinegar
1 teaspoon a liquid smoke flavor


Directions:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees, reduce to 250 degrees as you put the ribs into the oven.

After rinsing and drying the ribs, place them in a baking dish or pan with sides, large enough to contain them. Sprinkle them liberally with salt and pepper. Combine all the remaining ingredients in a large mixing bowl. Pour the mixture on top of the ribs and cover the dish with tin foil. Put the ribs in your oven reduced to 250 degrees and leave them alone for the next 10 to 12 hours. They will fall apart, fork tender.


Tuesday, March 6, 2012

CHILLED SHRIMP REMOULADE

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A terrific appetizer for your next party, this dish is easy to serve and let your guests mingle with a small plate of shrimp. Serve it well chilled, along with a nicely chilled Chardonnay.

CHILLED SHRIMP REMOULADE

Courtesy of Chef Jackie Olden, © 2012

Ingredients:

1 cup mayonnaise
1 teaspoon chopped, fresh tarragon
1 garlic clove, minced
1 teaspoon dry mustard
1 teaspoon capers
1 teaspoon minced, fresh parsley
2 small sour pickles, chopped
2 to 3 (8 oz.) packages frozen shrimp, cooked and drained

Directions:

Combine all ingredients. Refrigerate and allow flavors to blend for several hours or overnight. Serve icy cold. This makes a perfect appetizer.


Monday, March 5, 2012

JACKIE'S GAUCAMOLE

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There are a lot of ways to make guacamole. But invariably, the simpler the better. Like Chef Jackie always says: K.I.S.S. (Keep It Simple Sweetie).

JACKIE'S GUACAMOLE

Courtesy of Chef Jackie Olden, © 2012

Ingredients:

2 avocados, mashed or pureed
1/4 cup sour cream
2 tablespoons minced onion
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 clove garlic, crushed
Dash of Tabasco
4 teaspoons lemon juice
2 medium tomatoes, peeled and chopped

Directions:

Combine all ingredients. Cover and chill. The acidity of tomatoes and lemon juice are what keep avocado from darkening.

Makes about 3 cups.


Sunday, March 4, 2012

FRUIT SALAD WITH YOGURT AND MINT SAUCE

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Fruit salad with a yogurt sauce is so simple, delicious and truly good for you. You can experiment with various flavors of yogurt too. Try key lime, and substitute almond extract for the vanilla in the sauce. Have fun!

FRUIT SALAD WITH YOGURT AND MINT SAUCE

Courtesy of Chef Jackie Olden, © 2012

FRUIT SALAD:

Ingredients:

1 grapefruit
1 melon (about 2 1/2 lbs.) scooped into balls
1 orange, segments removed from the membranes
1 pint berries

YOGURT AND MINT SAUCE:

Ingredients:

2 cups low-fat yogurt
2 tablespoons minced fresh mint
1/4 teaspoon vanilla
1 tablespoon honey


Directions:

Cut the grapefruit in half and scoop out the segments. Put the segments into a bowl. Squeeze the juice from the grapefruit into the bowl. Add the 3 remaining fruits, toss, and chill. Whisk together all of the sauce ingredients, combine with the chilled fruit, and serve.

Serves 8. (Salad--61 calories per serving, Sauce--44 calories per serving).

HINTS FOR MAKING FRUIT SALAD:

There are no absolute rules for making a fruit salad, but there are reasons why some are better than others. Following are suggestions for creating the ultimate fruit salad.

--Always start with a grapefruit. Cut it in half, scoop the segments into a bowl, then squeeze the juice into the bowl. The citrus will prevent other fruits, such as pears and apples, from turning brown. I find this a better solution than dipping them in lemon juice for the grapefruit adds just the right amount of tartness to the salad.

--Do not overuse one type of fruit. Grapes are often added to excess. You really don't need more than 4 types of fruits; otherwise, the salad is so busy you can't appreciate any of them.

--A fruit salad can be made from unusual fruits, such as star fruit, papayas, and mulberries, but this is not necessary. Some of the best salads are made with fresh, local, in-season fruits that have more flavor than many of their imported cousins.

--Certain fruits can be cut a day ahead, while others should be added to the salad just before serving. Here is a guide:

Slice kiwis no more than a couple of hours before use. Ripe kiwis are slightly soft and a bright green color inside; overripe kiwis are dark green and fall apart when sliced; unripened kiwis are hard, light green, and bitter.

Melons, pears, apples, blueberries, oranges, papayas, and pineapple can all be cut and mixed a day ahead of time.

Strawberries, raspberries, blackberries, and bananas should be added shortly before serving.

The ideal fruit salad is beautiful as it is flavorful.

Select fruits according to how they will look together.

Think about the shape of the pieces, too. Use a melon baller. Cut fruits into a uniform size. Serve in a pretty bowl or in a basket carved out of a melon.

Garnish with fresh mint, twists of orange, or a few of the nicest berries.

Texture is also important. For example, combine the crunch of an apple with softness of a ripe melon.


Thursday, March 1, 2012

CHOCOLATE BROWNIE WAFFLES

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Chef Jackie found this recipe that originated in 1932 and has adapted it for today's more health conscious palette. It's still a richly delicious breakfast treat you'll enjoy over and over again.

CHOCOLATE BROWNIE WAFFLES

Courtesy of Chef Jackie Olden, © 2012

Ingredients:

1/4 cup vegetable oil
2 squares (1 ounce each) unsweetened chocolate
1 cup packed brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 cup finely chopped walnuts or pecans
Sweetened whipped cream and shaved chocolate (optional)

Directions:

Heat oil and chocolate in a 1-quart saucepan over medium-low heat, stirring Remove from heat. Beat in sugar, eggs and vanilla with wooden spoon or sturdy hand-held electric mixer until smooth. Add flour, salt and cinnamon. Beat on low speed or stir until blended. Stir in nuts. (Batter will be very thick.) Heat waffle iron to medium-high. Spoon on about 3/4 cup batter (use more or less according to the size of your waffle iron). Bake 2 to 3 minutes until no more steam rises. Lift edge of waffle with a fork, then slide a spatula under to remove. Repeat with remaining batter. Serve immediately with whipped cream and chocolate shavings. Makes 6 servings (3 round 7-inch diameter waffles).

HOMEMADE INSTANT CREAM SOUP MIX

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Keep this homemade instant cream soup mix on hand to make midweek meal time easier. Add your own fresh vegetables or meats during cooking.

HOMEMADE INSTANT CREAM SOUP MIX

Courtesy of Chef Jackie Olden, © 2012

Ingredients:

2 cups instant non-fat dry milk crystals
3/4 cup corn starch
1/4 cup instant chicken bouillon
2 tablespoons dried onion flakes
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon basil, dried (optional)
1 teaspoon thyme, dried (optional)

Directions:

Combine all ingredients and mix well. Store in an airtight container. Makes 3 cups mix or 9 cans soup.To reconstitute, combine 1/3 cup mix with 1-1/4 cups water in pan. Stir over low heat until thick. Add 1 tablespoon butter or margarine.

(Makes 1 can of soup.) .

Things you could add when cooking: clams, potatoes, corn, bacon, ham, celery, mushrooms, cheese, broccoli or just about any combination of things you can imagine.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

SUPER PICNIC SANDWICHES

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This recipe was meant for serving on big game days, but we thought what the heck? Why can't you do it at a picnic, with a good grill on hand? It's delicious no matter where you serve it.

SUPER PICNIC SANDWICHES

Courtesy of Chef Jackie Olden, © 2012

Ingredients:

6 crisp cooked bacon slices
1/2 pound mild cheddar cheese
1 small onion
1 medium green pepper
1/2 cup pitted ripe olives
2 hard cooked eggs
Dash of pepper
Garlic powder to taste
1/4 cup catsup
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
10 hamburger buns, split

Directions:

Put the first 5 ingredients in food processor. Chop coarsely. Place in a bowl with remaining ingredients. Spoon mixture on bottom half of buns. Broil about 2 minutes, or until cheese melts. Top with other half of buns. Serve hot. Super.


Monday, February 27, 2012

ORANGE FENNEL SALAD

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Citrusy and full of flavor, this Orange Fennel Salad is also fresh and satisfyingly crunchy. Don't be put off by the hint of licorice that marks fresh fennel. Even people who don't care for the intense flavor of licorice candies will enjoy this salad.

ORANGE FENNEL SALAD

Courtesy of Chef Jeff Calley, © 2012

Ingredients:

2 fennel bulbs, medium size
4 navel oranges, zested, and membranes removed from slices
2 cups fresh orange juice, additional
1/4 teaspoon fresh ginger juice
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup olive oil

Directions:

Remove the tough tops of the fennel stems and it’s spindly leaves. Slice the rest of the bulbs into 1/4” slices. Remove the core pieces, put the rest in a large mixing bowl.

Zest the oranges and put that into the bowl with the fennel. Peel the oranges and remove the membranes, either by hand or with a sharp knife. Add the slices to the fennel.

Put the orange juice in a sauce pan along with the ginger juice and salt. Simmer this liquid till its reduced by half. Cool the liquid, then whisk in the olive oil and incorporate as a dressing for the fennel.

It’s a fresh, crunchy, delicious salad.

Serves 6-8


GREMOLATA - ITALIAN SALSA?

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Gremolata is one of this wonderful things you never knew you missed. Until you try it. We think of it as a sort of Italian salsa. You can use it on so many dishes to give them an extra, Mediterranean kick.

GREMOLATA - ITALIAN SALSA?

Courtesy of Chef Jeff Calley, © 2011

Ingredients:

2 lemons
1 medium size bunch of flat leaf parsley (also known as Italian parsley)
6 - 8 cloves fresh garlic
Optional:
1 teaspoon salt

Directions:

Using a zester, grate the yellow skin of the lemons into a food processor. Avoid the white layer of the lemon, as it tends to be bitter. Squeeze the lemon juice into the food processor. Rinse and dry the parsley, remove the leaves from the stems and put the leaves into the food processor. Keep the stems for use in a sachet for seasoning your soups and stews. Peel and remove the root end of the garlic cloves and put the cloves into the food processor. Pulse the processor till the ingredients are a uniform size, but do not over process into a paste. You want it to look like a finely diced salsa.

Variations:
1/4 cup fresh mint leaves, or
3 slices of anchovies, or
1 small sprig fresh rosemary, leaves only, or
2 small sprigs fresh sage, leaves only, or
1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves

Uses: Most frequently as a condiment, traditionally with veal dishes and ossobuco. It’s also great encrusted on your baked turkey, as well as stuffed under the skin. Soak a cheesecloth in your turkey brine and some olive oil. Drape that across your turkey as you bake it to keep it moist.

Friday, February 24, 2012

NEW ORLEANS DIRTY RICE

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With Fat Tuesday right behind us, our taste buds are still in N'awlins. This dish is great just about anytime of the year. Rich, savory, and full of flavor. Even if you think you don't like chicken livers, you'll be quite surprised at how delicious this dish is once all the ingredients meld. Give it a try!

NEW ORLEANS DIRTY RICE

Courtesy of Chef Jackie Olden © 2012

Ingredients:

1 (14-ounce) can beef broth
3/4 cup regular rice
3 tablespoons butter or margarine
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 cup finely chopped onion
1/2 cup finely chopped celery
1/2 cup finely chopped green pepper
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon cayenne
1 pound chicken livers
1 (3-ounce) can sliced mushrooms

In saucepan combine beef broth and rice; bring to boiling. Cover and cook according to rice package directions. Meanwhile, in another saucepan, melt butter; stir in flour, cook and stir till golden brown. Stir in onion, celery, green pepper, garlic powder, salt and cayenne. Cook till onion is tender. Coarsely chop chicken livers. Stir livers and undrained mushrooms into onion mixture. Cover; cook over low heat till livers are tender, 6 to 8 minutes, stirring often. Fold liver mixture into hot cooked rice.

Makes 6 servings


Wednesday, February 22, 2012

JACKIE'S MAGIC CARROT BREAD

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Few things stir the sense like homemade, fresh baked goods. Jackie's mysteriously magic carrot bread is so simple to make, and freezes well for use later. Make enough to share!

JACKIE'S MAGIC CARROT BREAD

Courtesy of Chef Jackie Olden © 2012

Ingredients:

2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup nuts, chopped
1 cup oil
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 cups carrots, grated
3 eggs
1/2 cup raisins
1/2 cup coconut, grated or grated apple

Directions:

Sift dry ingredients together in a large bowl. Add remaining ingredients and mix well. Pour into 2 greased and floured loaf pans or angel food cake pan. Let stand 20 minutes. Bake 1 hour at 375 degrees. Cool before slicing. This will be a favorite, easy and so good. It only takes a minute if you have a food processor to grate the carrots.


MARDI GRAS PUNCH

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You wondered what all those beverages were people were carrying around at Mardi Gras? It very well may be Jackie's famous Mardi Gras Punch! Guess what? It's really good anytime there's a good party going on!

MARDI GRAS PUNCH
Courtesy of Chef Jackie Olden © 2012

Ingredients:

3 cup water
3 cups sugar
3 cups boiling water
1/4 cup tea leaves
3 cups orange juice
1 cup lemon juice
3 cups pineapple juice
2 quarts ginger ale
Sliced fruit (oranges, lemons, strawberries)

Directions:

Combine the 3 cups water and sugar in a saucepan. Heat and stir until sugar is dissolved. Boil 7 minutes. Chill. Combine 3 cups boiling water with the tea leaves. Steep 5 minutes. Strain and cool. When ready to serve combine all ingredients in a punch bowl and garnish with fresh fruit.

Makes 3 1/2 quarts

Handy hint: To keep punch from becoming diluted, freeze ginger ale in favorite ice mold.

Make this beverage an adult beverage by putting your favorite alcohol into it. You can also use mint tea leaves.

Monday, February 20, 2012

GAMBLER'S EGGS

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This was a favorite around the Olden brunch table every weekend. Sliced fruit and a piece of tasted sour dough bread with some steamy rich coffee. The best!

GAMBLER'S EGGS

Courtesy of Chef Jackie Olden © 2012

Ingredients:

4 potatoes, boiled and cut into small pieces
1 large ham slice, cut into small pieces
2 medium onions, chopped fine
4 average sized tomatoes, diced
1 medium sized can mushrooms, stems and pieces
1 large green pepper, chopped fine
10 eggs

Directions:

Place all the ingredients, except pepper and eggs in a large skillet. Place enough melted butter to cover the bottom of the pan and saut until the onions and ham are lightly browned. Beat eggs well and pour over all. Add green pepper while cooking the eggs.

Serves 6

PINEAPPLE CUCUMBER SHRIMP BRUNCH SALAD

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By now you know Jackie's all about KISS - Keep It Simple Sweetie! Her's her fabulously simple and delicious salad you can make in minutes.

PINEAPPLE CUCUMBER SHRIMP BRUNCH SALAD
Courtesy of Chef Jackie Olden © 2012

Ingredients:

2 (20-ounce) cans sliced pineapple, chilled
4 cups cucumber slices
2 pounds shrimp, cooked and cleaned
12 hard-boiled eggs, shelled and carefully sliced
2 quarts assorted greens, torn into bite-size pieces
2 packages salad dressing, prepared as directed or your own favorite creamy dressing.

Directions:

Drain pineapple. Divide and stack pineapple in center of 2 round serving plates. Cover the remaining surface of both serving plates with greens. Arrange shrimp and cucumber around the pineapple on both plates covering most of the lettuce. Use 6 rows (one egg per row) of sliced eggs for each platter, starting from the outer edge of the pineapples to the edge of the platter. Dribble some of the dressing over the stack of pineapple and put the rest in a small serving bowl. This is so easy and looks so good and can be made way ahead.

Serves 8

Thursday, February 16, 2012

HEARTS OF PALM SALAD WITH LIME DRESSING

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Need an elegant salad fast? Keep some Hearts of Palm and Hearts of Celery in your pantry. You can whip out an exquisite salad on very short notice with a few simple ingredients.

HEARTS OF PALM SALAD WITH LIME DRESSING
Courtesy of Chef Jackie Olden © 2012

Ingredients:

1 can or jar of hearts of palm or celery hearts
Boston lettuce
1 can or jar (1-1/3 oz.) pimientos cut into strips
1/4 cup wine vinegar
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
2/3 cup oil
1 teaspoon soy sauce
Juice of one lime
1 garlic clove, crushed

Directions:

Place the contents of one can hearts of palm on a bed of Boston lettuce. Place two strips of pimiento crosswise over the hearts of palm. Combine remaining ingredients; mix well. Serve over salad.

Other ideas for jazzing up your Hearts of Palm Salad:

Add any of the following before dressing the salad: boiled shrimp, snow crab, lobster, garlic shrimp, scallops, smoked salmon, grilled chicken breast.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

SAUCE BUERRE BLANC

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A really elegant French sauce is as close as your refrigerator and bottle of white wine. Everyone knows that butter tastes really good. And most people can appreciate a nice white wine. But what happens when you put the two together in a sauce? It’s Fantastic, is what it is.

SAUCE BUERRE BLANC
Courtesy of Chef Jeff Calley, © 2011

Ingredients:

1 to 2 shallots, chopped fine
8 ounces white wine
2 ounces lemon juice
1 tablespoon heavy cream
12 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cubed
Salt and white pepper, to taste

Directions:

Combine the shallots, white wine, and lemon juice in a non-reactive saucepan over high heat and reduce to 2 tablespoons.
 
Add the cream to the reduction. Once the liquid bubbles, reduce the heat to low. Add the butter, one cube at a time, whisking first on the heat and then off the heat. Continue whisking butter into the reduction until the mixture is fully emulsified and has reached a rich sauce consistency. Season with salt and white pepper. Store beurre blanc in a thermos until ready to serve.
 
What to do with a Buerre Blanc:

Serve this sauce over fish or steamed vegetables, such as asparagus, broccoli or even green beans. Try it on meats and vegetables too.

FRIED PORK WONTON

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Friend wontons are great finger food at parties. If you're going to make them, know that you can also drop prepared wontons into soups for cooking instead of frying them. Either way, they're delicious!

FRIED PORK WONTONS
Courtesy of Chef Jackie Olden © 2012

Ingredients:

1 1/2 pounds finely ground pork
1 tablespoon white wine, or dry vermouth
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon minced garlic
10 ounce can Chinese vegetables, drained, chopped
4 ounce can of mushrooms, drained, chopped
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 small onion, finely diced
2 large packages of Wonton skins

Directions:

Brown the pork and remove from the pan, reserving a tablespoon of pork fat in which to saute the onions. After the onions are sauteed, combine with the rest of filling ingredients till lightly blended. Spoon filling by teaspoons into the center of a wonton skin. Lightly moisten the edges of the skin and fold opposite corners of the wonton skin across to make a triangle shape. Lightly press the edges together to seal them. Lay the uncooked wontons on wax paper so they're not overlapping. Repeat the procedure till you've used all the filling and wanton skins. Any leftover skins can be cut into strips and fried to make crispy salad croutons. Leftover filling can be made into small meatballs and dropped into soups to cook quickly.

Wontons can be used immediately, or stored in bags and frozen for future use.

When ready to cook, put 2 inches of oil in a large frying pan or pot and heat to 350 degrees. Cook individual wontons a few at a time, turning half way through cooking so both side are lightly golden browned. Putting too many wontons in the oil at a time will improperly lower the oil temperature and cause uneven cooking and tough wontons. Drain cooked wontons on paper towels.

Serve wontons with a dipping sauce, either a cup of soy sauce or soy and ginger ginger with sliced green onion. They disappear fast at parties!

Monday, February 13, 2012

CROCK COOKER USE AND CARE TIPS

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Happy Valentine's Day to all our listeners! We love you and hope you have lots of special people in your life.

Your crock cooker is a very versatile tool. You can do so many things in it, including making dressing, warm punches, sourdough starters and a whole host of delicious one-pot meals. Here are Jackie's tips for using and caring for your crock.

CROCK COOKER USE AND CARE TIPS
Courtesy of Chef Jackie Olden © 2012

Crock cooking takes place between 200 degrees and 210 degrees, or just below the boiling point. Since the liquids don't boil there is little steam and virtually no moisture loss or evaporation. Here are a few tricks to enjoy crock cooking.

1. Always brown meat before placing in the crock.

2. Cut vegetables on the bias, exposing more surface for cooking.

3. Always load the crock cooker by putting the vegetables in the bottom and the meat on the top.

4. Never lift the lid during the cooking process, it takes several hours for the crock to get to 200 degrees and when you lift the lid it makes the temperature go down again. Remember NO PEEKIE.

5. To thicken your stock just mix equal parts of flour and butter about the size of a walnut, and it will thicken more than a pint of juice by turning the crock to High temperature.

6. The crock cooker makes a terrific buffet server. Lovely for fondues, mulled wines etc.

7. The crock uses as much energy as a 75 or 100 watt light globe, which is just pennies, so you can make one pot meals very economically.

8. Last but not least it is very easy to clean. Do not scour the inside with an abrasive cleaner. Simply soak the removable ceramic pot and it will clean easily. Never submerse the electrical parts of your crock cooker, and always unplug it before cleaning.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

A-MAYO-ZING BAKED MAC AND CHEESE

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.

A-MAYO-ZING BAKED MAC AND CHEESE

Courtesy of Chef Jeff Calley, © 2011

Ok, so this is not the best recipe for your waistline. But, it’s a great party favorite, or excellent if you’re able to control portions. It’s outrageous! Your potluck guests will howl at how good this is. Just tell 'em what's in it after they've finished eating it!


Ingredients:

3 cups mayonnaise
3 cups cheddar cheese, shredded
1 cup parmesan cheese, shredded
1 pound bag of pasta, your favorite shape
1/2 cup milk
2 cups Panko bread crumbs
1/2 cup butter, melted

Directions:

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

In a large pan, combine cheddar cheese and mayonnaise. Heat the mixture over a low-medium heat. In another large pan, boil the past in salted water till its al dente. Drain the pasta and mix into the mayonnaise and cheese mixture.

Turn the mixture into a greased, deep, 10” by 14” baking dish and sprinkle the grated parmesan across the top.

In a medium size pan, melt the butter and incorporate the bread crumbs. Spread the crumbs over the top of the macaroni cheese mixture. Cover with tin foil.

Bake for a total of 40 minutes, removing the foil after the first 20 minutes.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

FRESH PEACH SHERBET

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Have you never tried making your own sherbet? Well, here's how. Fresh peaches make the best, darn sherbet around. But, you can substitute other fresh fruits, like apricots. It's a great treat just about anytime, and a light refreshing desert after a sumptuous meal!.

FRESH PEACH SHERBET

Courtesy of Chef Jackie Olden © 2012

Ingredients:

5 large peaches , make sure they're nice and ripe
1 tablespoon plus 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1 cup powdered sugar
1 can sweetened condensed milk
4 eggs, separated

Directions:

Dip the peaches into boiling water for about 30 seconds. Peel, pit and dice. Mix with 1 tablespoon of the lemon juice and the powdered sugar. In a bowl combine the remaining lemon juice, the sweetened condensed milk and the egg yolks and blend well. Stir in the peaches. Beat the egg whites until stiff but not dry and fold into the peach mixture. Pour into a 9x13x2 inch baking pan. Cover and freeze for about 2 hours, or until mixture is solid around the edges. Turn into a chilled bowl and beat until all the ice crystals are broken up, don't let it melt completely. Return to pan and freeze until firm, about 2 hours. Makes about 2 quarts.

Super for and holiday picnic. .

WARNING: Using uncooked foods such as eggs can result in disease, particularly in the very young and the elderly. You may wish to use a pasteurized egg product found in your dairy case instead of raw eggs.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

RISOTTO WITH PORK OR VEAL

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Risotto can come in many forms. At it's simplest, it's a creamy rice dish made with a rice like Arborio and a delicious vegetable, meat, or poultry stock. Kick up your risotto by adding pork or veal to it and you're got a one dish meal.

RISOTTO WITH PORK OR VEAL

Courtesy of Chef Jackie Olden © 2012

Ingredients:

2 lbs. pork or veal, cut into cubes
2 carrots, chopped
2 medium onions, chopped
Few sprigs of parsley, chopped
1 stalk celery, chopped
1/2 green pepper, chopped
2 tomatoes, peeled and chopped
1 cup raw rice
5 tbsp. shortening
Salt and pepper to taste
2 cups beef bouillon
1 cup peas, fresh or frozen

Directions:

Slowly brown the onions in the shortening, then add the cubed meat and brown (about 15 minutes). Add chopped parsley, celery, green pepper, carrots and tomatoes. Simmer for 15 minutes.

Add rice and stir lightly. Add bouillon, salt and pepper, and simmer for 20 minutes or until rice is cooked. Don't stir the rice during this period. You may have to add a little more liquid.

Add the peas just before serving, and let them steam for just a few minutes. Risotto will taste best if it's cooked slowly.

Serves 6.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

FOUR MOST VERSATILE HERBS FOR YOUR KITCHEN GARDEN

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FOUR MOST VERSATILE FRESH HERBS

Courtesy of Chef Jeff Calley, © 2012

There’s nothing quite like cooking with fresh herbs. But, they’re expensive when you buy the little packets of them in the grocery store these days. You’re paying for the packaging more than the herbs. So, if you have a small garden or some planter boxes you can devote to growing these four essential herbs, you will always have an abundance of flavors to use in creative dishes.


Flat leaf parsley
Fresh thyme
Fresh tarragon
Oregano

Flat leaf parsley - a bushy, broad leaf plant, 8” to a foot tall; used in soups, stews, sauces, roasted and sauteed vegetables

Fresh thyme - a low growing, spindly plant with slightly woody stems; used in salads, meats, poultry, fish, herbed vegetables

Fresh tarragon - a grassy-like herb with wide blades, used in sauces, egg dishes, fish

Oregano - another low growing, small leaf plant in multiple varieties, with fragrant leaves smaller than a penny; used in tomato sauces, asian dishes, soups and meat rubs. Italian Oregano has also been recently discovered to contain 20 times as much antioxidant properties than blueberries!


Other easy to grow herbs:

Rosemary grows like a bush with spindly limbs. And it grows really well in almost every climate.

Chives grow like weeds under the right conditions.

Bay trees grow like unruly shrubs, offering more Bay leaf than you could every possible use. It’s attractive too.

Fresh Basil, a relative of mint, grows fairly easily in most climates, with good water and drainage in the soil. It also grows well in a glass of water.

Cilantro is best grown in the ground, in loose soil with good drainage.