Articles

  1. Grilled Shrimp Stuffed Jalapeno Poppers

    It’s been a good summer, so far. My daughter joined her first Tee-ball league which I had to take her to. It was well worth it for the entertainment value alone. Watching a bunch of 4 and 5 year old's trying to grasp the fundamentals of baseball is a recipe for mayhem and hilarity. There were kids that cried the entire time they ran the bases after hitting a ball, kids who couldn’t grasp the concept of running to first base after hitting the ball, first base men who missed every ball thrown...
  2. Chicken Salad - A Lesson in Presentation

    One of the most important lessons I learned as a young, professional chef was that presentation is everything. Even in the finest of restaurants you can serve the most mundane of foods if you create a spectacular, or beautiful, way to present it. Soups were a classic example of this. Many of the soups we made, at some of the best restaurants, I worked at, in Chicago, Atlanta and New Orleans, were soups that people make at home every day. The only difference was in the presentation....
  3. Grilled BBQ Chicken Pizza

    Don’t adjust your computer monitor, the sauce on the pizza, in the picture is yellow. Don’t worry, it’s supposed to be that way! In general, I am not a big fan of BBQ pizzas. To me, and I know this is strictly a personal preference, something just doesn’t taste quite right about a pizza crust slathered with BBQ sauce. It’s strange that I feel that way as I am a huge fan of both pizza and BBQ, but together I’m not so keen on it. That is unless it is BBQ Chicken Pizza done my way. I hate to...
  4. Coca Cola Battered Cherries

    The original idea for Coca Cola Battered Cherries came about last year while I was working at my Kiwanis group’s annual fundraiser, the World’s Largest Walleye Fish Fry at Walleye Weekend in Fond du Lac, WI. Over the course of 3 days we will thaw, clean, bread, fry and serve approximately 2500 pounds of Walleye. While they are long days and a lot of work there is also quite a bit of down time during which I usually find myself getting into all sorts of trouble. My wife, who had come out to...
  5. Strawberry Freezer Jam-Jelly Making Made Simple

    One of my favorite ways to preserve food, besides making pickles, is to make jams and jellies. There’s nothing more rewarding, in wintertime, than to open a jar of jam that was made with fruits picked at the height of their ripeness during the summer. We make a lot of jam and jelly, in our house. I like to make spicy-sweet jellies with Raspberry-Jalapeno and Sweet Pepper-Habanero being two of my favorites. Every year my wife puts up numerous jars of homemade Concord grape jelly and...
  6. Indian Inspired Grilled Chicken with Rhubarb Chutney

    I am a big fan of Indian food, although I have to admit that my knowledge of cooking that cuisine is rather lacking.  Often I find myself just kind of playing around, inspired by the flavors of that country. I can’t really call this an authentic Indian dish for a couple of reasons, the biggest being that I have never come across an Indian recipe that includes rhubarb, but the flavors, as well as some of the techniques were inspired by my limited knowledge of Indian cooking. Indian Inspired...
  7. Barbecued Ribs with Bourbon BBQ Sauce

    For many of my friends, Labor Day weekend signals the end of summer, and with that, the end of many summery past times. For some of them that means closing up the cabin, winterizing the boat, emptying the pool, and for some that even means contemplating the end of BBQ’ing for the season. Me, I’m just getting started. While I grill throughout the summer, I look forward to cooler temperatures, when I can enjoy sitting outside, tending a slow fire, without having to worry about passing out from...
  8. Summertime Gin and Tonics

    Years ago, when I attended New England Culinary Institute there was a little, local distillery that made a cucumber flavored gin. We had discovered it by accident, but I was glad we had as it made the greatest Gin & Tonics I had ever tasted. While the juniper flavor was still there it didn’t overpower and the combination of the cucumber, lime and tonic created a wonderfully refreshing beverage meant for chasing the heat of summer away. Veranda Gin was well ahead of its time. It was one of...
  9. Spicy Shrimp Marinated in Beer

    As a food writer and blogger, a few years back, I received an email inviting me to create a recipe using and/or pairing with one of New Belgium Brewery’s beers.  The hardest part to this whole assignment was choosing which of their beers to use to create my dish. Let’s face it, New Belgium Brewery has a number of really great beers from which to choose from. I was, originally all set to use their “1554,” one of my favorite beers, but on the day that I was planning out my recipe I ended up...
  10. Grapefruit Sorbet

    Years ago, while working as a sous chef, one of the restaurants I worked at lost their pastry chef. It fell on me to cover pastries until the owners decided if they wanted to hire a new pastry chef or do without. Now, I can hold my own in a pastry shop, but I have to admit it is not one of my favorite things to do. Sure, I love playing around and baking every now and then, but to do it for 8-10 hours a day, day after day is not something I really enjoy all that much. There was one exception...
  11. Gingered Bourbon Sour

    Like most of the people in the upper Midwest, I can’t believe the weather we are having. We’ve had almost a full week of 70-80° temperatures and it’s barely the middle of March. Of course, we’re all holding our breath, just waiting for winter to make one last bid for supremacy. We watch the news religiously expecting to hear that the season’s worst blizzard is heading our way and that this weather is nothing but a short tease before we are plunged back into sub zero temperatures. That...
  12. Chicken Rhubarb Stir Fry

    It’s been a tough spring so far, for gardening. We had a long, cold, wet spring and the summer has been very wet also. This year we had decided, in place of a CSA share we would rent a plot in the community garden and grow some of our own vegetables. Due to all the rain, we go the garden in late and since then haven’t been able to work on it very much. With storms rolling through the area, on average, every other day, the ground has not gotten dry enough to work, especially the clay based...
  13. Strawberry-Rhubarb Shortcake

    It’s the middle of May and that means that the rhubarb I’ve been watching grow for the last 6-7 weeks is finally ready to start harvesting. That may not mean a whole lot to many people, but I get all excited just thinking about it. Yes, I know I need to get out more! But seriously, I love the tart flavor of rhubarb. Paired with strawberries, it becomes the ultimate late spring/early summer food pairing, at least in my book. I’ve got 3 huge rhubarb plants in my backyard; enough to keep my...
  14. Farfalle with Red Chard and Chicken

    It’s the first week of March and the weather has taken a decided turn towards spring here in Wisconsin. What that means exactly is that the thermometer has finally risen above freezing. I’m not getting my hopes too high yet, as there is still a very good chance for, at least, 1 or 2 more good snows, and even the possibility of a late winter, early spring blizzard, but there’s something in the air. I can feel it, and it is Spring. If you’ve been following my writings for any length of time,...
  15. Beet & Spinach Salad

    Last Saturday while shopping at the Fond du Lac farmer’s market I came across the first beets of the season. Well, at least the first beets to arrive at the market. Excitedly, I grabbed up a couple of bunches, just thinking of all the possibilities. Life interjected and we got busy with visiting friends, work, and the daily grind. I forgot all about them. This evening as I was driving home from work, in 90 degree weather, with no AC (I know you probably don’t care, but I thought I’d share my...
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