Archive for July, 2008

“We Actually Prefer Beer”

Thursday, July 31st, 2008

Once in awhile, this is a statement I hear when I ask clients if they would like me to suggest wine pairings for their custom menus. I am always happy to oblige them in making beer pairings instead. There are many different varieties of beer and a really good one can truly enhance your dining experience.

As an aperitif, a dry and slightly bitter flavored beer is a perfect way to begin your meal. You palate will begin to become curious about what is next. A pale ale, or Belgian style ale are great beers to accomplish this result.

To accompany cheese, porters and stouts, especially chocolate stouts, are great compliments. The sweetness helps to counteract the saltiness and strong flavors of the cheese.

If you’re having a soup course, a good pilsner is a lovely accompaniment to lighter soups. The hoppiness, and dryness of the beer enhances the flavors of the soup. For heartier soups and stews, a malty Scotch ale is the way to go.

If it’s meats and game your dining on, go with a porter, stout, pale ale or Dopplebock; a strong but smooth all malt lager.

Fear not vegetarians, I have you covered. Go with lighter, crisp ales. This prevents the beer from overwhelming the flavors of your vegetables and salads. I recommend an IPA.

And finally to accompany desserts or as a digestif, an Imperial stout, lambic, or barley wine is a great way to finish. The sweetness of these varieties is a natural compliment to that rich indulgence.

Fresh Lemon Juice

Monday, July 21st, 2008

Squeezing fresh lemon juice can be hard work if you don’t have a juicer. The best way to get the maximum amount of juice from a fresh lemon is to allow the lemon to reach room temperature, then while pressing down, roll it between your palm and the counter a few times. Then you can slice it in half, and squeeze it.

Dinner. Massage. (and even Child Care)

Sunday, July 20th, 2008

Canapé Specialty Chef Services has partnered with New Born You Massage to bring you the ultimate at-home experience. Chef Jay DeLong will arrive on your doorstep to prepare and serve you a delicious multi-course meal while both you, your spouse, and/or friends gets pampered with an in-home massage or spa party package. For an additional fee New Born You will even provide child care. All this without leaving your home!

When you book your dinner & New Born You massage or spa party with Canape Specialty Chef Services, these special offers will apply >

Easy Chilled Cucumber Soup

Thursday, July 17th, 2008

Serves 4

Ingredients:
1 English Cucumber, cored and diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 shallot, minced
zest and juice of one lemon
2 cups fat free milk
4 sprigs fresh dill, chopped
salt and pepper, to taste

Method:

Place all of the ingredients in a blender, and purée for 1-2 minutes
Chill for at least 4 hours.

Outside The Icebox

Wednesday, July 16th, 2008

Part of being a knowledgeable cook is stepping outside your comfort zone and exploring new concepts. For me, that is canning. I just went to my neighborhood produce stand and bought a whole flat of raspberries so I can make some preserves. I am hoping to expand my education and knowledge by really getting back to the roots of good food at home.

The signature of a great kitchen is a wonderful pantry. Canning can really put an exclamation point on yours. There are a number of books on canning and two types of canners (pressure & water bath). Typically using a pressure canner is for low acidity vegetables, soups and meats. Use a water bath canner for tomato sauce, jams, preserves and high acidity fruits.

Resources:
Preserving The Harvest

Satisfaction

Thursday, July 10th, 2008

As someone who grew up with a rather bountiful garden, I have found that being an urban dweller has its fair share of horticultural challenges. However, my wife and I are fortunate enough to have a modest herb garden, along with some fruit trees, mostly apple, and a couple of tomato plants that I have put in some flower boxes on our patio. While watering those, along with various flowers this morning, I felt great satisfaction in knowing that we eat the herbs, will eat the apples and tomatoes, and they are all grown right in our own yard. Long gone are the days of helping my parents dig potatoes, shuck ears of fresh corn picked from the stalk, or mending the fence around the garden to prevent the deer from eating our bountiful harvest, but I hope to inspire others to grow something in your own little part of Seattle. Even a window box with some fresh basil or parsley makes a world if difference.

The Best Gift Ever!

Tuesday, July 8th, 2008

“We received Jay’s cooking services as a Christmas gift – and boy was it the best gift ever! To be able to enjoy yourself in one’s own home is quite a treat. Not to worry about preparing the menu or even clean up was wonderful. But best of all, was the meal itself. Knowing that the ingredients are fresh, organic accompanied with home grown herbs – wow! We enjoyed the meal so much, that we had him come back and cook for the whole family a month later. We thoroughly enjoyed his preparation, the combination of tastes were remarkable & the desserts are just heavenly. Thanks Jay and I hope to use you again in the future.”

- G. Villanueva, Seattle

Summer Cooking: Don’t Let The Dry Weather Dry Out Your Meat

Monday, July 7th, 2008

I really enjoy being outside in the warmth of the summer. I am quite active with golf, hiking and gardening, but most of all I love the food associated with the summer months. Firing up the barbecue and dining outside makes for a wonderful & relaxing meal. There are challenges involved with using the grill, and I have a few tips I would like to share to help you look like a real pro.

Monitor The Temperature
When using your barbecue, temperature is the most important detail to observe. This does not ONLY apply to the cooking surface, but is important to monitor the internal temperature of your meat as well.

Often people will find that their steaks will come out dry and over cooked. There are a couple of reasons why this happens…

You Don’t Let It Rest
The meat is placed directly on the dinner plate without being allowed to “rest”, it is immediately cut into causing a levy breaking gush of all those wonderful juices that would keep it moist.

You Overcook It
For those of you who do let your meat “rest”, you are pulling it off the grill too late causing it to overcook.

To remedy these oversights, we need to understand what is happening to the meat. Allowing the meat to “rest”, simply means to allow the meat to settle after being cooked (usually about 5-10 minutes depending on thickness) allowing the juices to keep the meat moist and succulent. The “rest” period allows the juices to stay inside the meat, and prevents the juices from spilling all over the plate and leaving the meat dry. Now that we have solved to resting problem, we need to move on to the overcooking challenge. These two obstacles are related since while the meat is resting, it is also continuing to cook. This is known as residual cooking. So if you are looking to have your meat cooked to medium, you should pull it off the grill and let it begin to rest when it is medium rare. By the time you are ready to cut into your steak, it will be perfect.

Bear in mind that this pertains to all meats, including chicken, pork and fish. Allowing it to continue to cook away from the heat of your barbecue will keep your meat, fish and poultry moist and delicious, and you will look like a barbecue master.

True Sour Cream

Wednesday, July 2nd, 2008

Creme Frâiche

Yield: About 1 cup

Ingredients:
1 cup whipping cream
2 tablespoons buttermilk

Method:
Combine 1 cup whipping cream and 2 tablespoons buttermilk in a glass container. Cover and let stand at room temperature (about 70°F) from 8 to 24 hours, or until very thick. Stir well before covering and refrigerate up to 10 days.



 
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