Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Damian: Death Metal Demoesticated

Friday, March 28th, 2014

Once in a while you meet someone who inspires you to be a better person.  If you are lucky enough you get become friends with them.  For me, Ive met some amazing, awe-inspiring people over the past few years in the coking world.  This is one of their stories…

Enjoy this glass of Meade with me after I kick your ass in the ring?!?!

The only time I have heard of death metal and domestic come together in a sentence was a sesame street skit of what two things do not go together, until I met Damian Legion.  He is a Jack Daniel and a Meade kind of guy, two completely opposite drinks.  One whisky, the other fermented honey.  Just like Damian, strong, powerful flavor but extremely sweet.

Damian Legion, pro wrestler… looks as though he had killed a biker gang in the side alley minutes before entering the room.  Reading his instagram bio you get the picture of a much softer side of him.

“I’m told I’m awesome. NYC. Wrestler. Bad ass cook. Lover of babies, sci fi, hugs and metal. We should probably be friends.”

I met Damian on the set of Master Chef 4 last year in LA.  He was one of the kindest people I have ever met, not to mention his ability to keep his positive energy through 7 LONG days of filming.   He was the guy you wanted to sit by in between shoots. Since we have been home, Ive had the pleasure of becoming his “lil sis”.  Its only fare that I can share with you why he is so cool.

At an early age Domian’s mom threw her back out.  Being such a painful injury she showed him around the kitchen.  Although his skills we naturally awesome he started experimenting a little more after watching Food Networks, Alton Brown in the kitchen.  Alston explained why things worked.  With that he began expanding.

Damian was also a fan of the WWF.  To my SURPRIZE I learned from him these men and women are trained!!!!  Right?!?!  Much to Damian’s surprise a school opened up right around the corner from his place.  So for about $3,000 he trained for pro wresting.His training not only taught him how to perform in the ring but how to take care of yourself like an athlete with training and diet.  Combining his training with the love of food reactions influenced by Alton Brown, Damian’s journey began.  That’s is where we met on Master Chef 4.

Damian has been doing a few different  live podcasts.  Blog talk started before Master Chef.  It is a once a week podcast that is about wrestling.  Master Chef gave him the courage or “balls” that he needed to step out on his own and do his own blog.  Thus “DMD Culinary” was born.  Subjects on cooking, wresting, wrestling and cooking and zombies.  I was thrilled to hear this, zombies are one of my secret obsessions.

Getting to know this awesome guy has been a pretty damn cool experience and Im glad to call him friend!  Below are links to his podcasts.  You will NOT want to miss one!

Death Metal Domesticated

Z.E.D.D. Radio

Follow him:

www.blogtalkradio.com/hellinaforumradio

www.instagram.com/damian_legion

www.facebook.com/deathmetakdomesticated

Z.E.D.D. Radio on both iTunes and www.stircher.com

Fabulous Food Show 2011

Friday, November 11th, 2011

Sharone Hakman

Monday, November 7th, 2011

A few weeks ago I had the opportunity to chat with Sharone Hakman, finalist of Master Chef Season 1.  Feeling busy and overwhelmed he somehow found the energy to give me the low down on his life leading up MC and what he has been up to since then.

Sharone was born and raised in LA.  He learned to cook from his grandma, who follows traditional cooking tecniques and cooks with love.  At 85 years young she still hosts Friday dinners for the family.  From morning until night she is feeding people.

Sharone married his high school sweetheart and landed a VIP at a private bank.  Being successful in “life” wasnt enought for Sharone, there was still something missing.  Fortunalty he married a strong woman who supported his every decision, so when he approached her about moving to Rhome for six months to cook in a restaraunt.  Right before they moved in 2009, Sharone and his wife had a beautiful baby boy, Luca.  Four days later Sharone left for Mater Chef!

On  a whim Sharone tried out for MC, knowing nothing about it!  He of course made it onto the show challenging his way to the top to the finals!!  Capturing the attention of the one and only, Gordon Rhamsy with his BBQ sauce.  Unfortunalty Sharone did not win  Master Chef, however he is still on top starting his own BBQ sauce company!

Sharone Hakman will be cooking for Cleveland At the Fabulous Food Show which takes place at the I-X Center November 11-13.  He will be featuring comfort food that will make your NEO winter warm and cozy!

For more information on Sharone Hakman and the Fabulous Food Show go to www.FabulousFoodShow.com or www.SharoneHakman.com

Cant wait to see you there!  Cheers!!!

Coffee Talk

Monday, August 1st, 2011

Im addicted to coffee.  I love the aroma and the flavor and the way it makes me feel!  I even worked at a Starbucks for a little over a year (I miss the FREE coffee).  IM going to break coffee down for you and what it means so you have have a wonderful experience like I alway have and give you my favorite places to enjoy this amazing beverage!

Brewing coffee at home is, in my opinion, the best thing about the mornings in the cold months.  Sipping on some hot coffee in your jammies getting the morning started.  There are three main parts to making the perfect brew in your home. 

#1 is water.  Water does matter.  If you are using non filtered water or well water it will ulter the flavor and aroma of the coffee.  If you do not have a filtration system in your home and you water is well, pick up a distilled gallon next time you go to the gas station (they are around $1).  The coffee will be bright and clean. 

#2 is grind.  If you have ever been to a cafe to buy your coffe beans for home brewing, you would have noticed the beans are still whole.  The barista can grind them for you or you can grind them at home.  KNOW WHAT KIND OF GRIND YOUR MACHINE TAKES… IT DOES MATTER.  When the hot water is filtered through the grinds in a flat bottom filter the water sits in the basket for a few minutes.  If the grind is too course or too fine the coffe will be weak or way too strong.  For guest who are unsure of cofffee drinking a weak or strong batch this will turn them off.  So know your grind. 

#3 and final, freshness.  You may think by storing your coffee in the freezer you are saving it or preserving its freshness.  Its time to let you in on a little secret, you are not doing anything but making your beans cold.  The best way to keep your coffee at the freshest state is to grind as you go.  Grinders are under $15 at Target, www.target.comor if you want to continue to impress your friends with all the money you may make you can always go to Williams-Sonoma, www.williams-sonoma.com.  (Trust me if I had all the money I wanted I would buy EVERYTHING from there!)  Grinders have measurements on the side for how many cups are being brewed and which grind you would like.  This is very helpful to newbys. 

Using these three rules, you will have the best cup of coffee on a snowy morning and maybe learn how to appreciate rich black coffee like a fine glass of wine. 

However if you are someone who does not own a coffee maker or yours is sitting in the garage with molded coffee grinds in it from last Holiday then this breakdown is for you!  Working at Starbucks taught me a lot… especially what the menu means.  Don’t judge me, you probably don’t know either and if you do than you are the customers I loved getting in the drive thru!  So let me break the menu down for you!

Latte: Espresso, steamed milk topped with foam.  If you have a vanilla latte, or a different flavor, its the same thing but with your flavor in it. 

Cappachino: Espresso and equal parts of steamed milk and foam.  This is a creamy, yummy drink that you can add any flavor to jazz it up.  Cappachinos can be wet chich has more steamed milk than foam or dry is has way more foam than steamed milk. 

Mocha: mocha, espresso, steamed milk topped with whipped cream.  This includes, white mochas, peppermint mochas and coconut mochas.  The peppermint and coconut have a sprkinle on it. 

Frappachino: BLENDED coffee drink, usually topped with whipped cream.

Iced Coffee or Tea:  Its that, OVER ice, its NOT blended.

Americano: Espresso and Hot water

Drip: (really?) brewed coffee, like the one you can do at home.

This list in very long,  To save you from a boring lecture Im going to have my Starbucks friends add their favorite drinks and a crazy different drink that is hardly ever ordered but after you read the definition you may want it. 

If you are turned off by Starbucks pertension and their know it all attitudes (ps, its not like that at all of the store, just most!) Here are my favorite coffee shops to enjoy and read! 

Erie Island Coffee Shop, located in Downtown Cleveland with a new location in Rocky River.  I love the atmosphere, comfy enough to read a good book, check emails or a business meeting.  The baristas will help you will all the coffee questions you have.  Go to http://www.erieislandcoffee.com/ to find the menu, history and passion they have for coffee! 

When working in Greene I wanted a different coffee than I was getting at Starbucks every morning.  My friend and co-worker discovered Blake’s which was seconds from our work.  Every morning they make the most wonderful cupcakes in house with flavors like, caramel by the sea, Oreo, maple and bacon and red velvet.  If you would like one, it best to place an order or get there before 10am!  They also have a latte that is to die for, Orange white mocha, their signature drink!  You will not be disappointed when the cool citrus hits your tongue…mmmm, I can almost taste it!  Go to   http://www.basketfanfare.com/option/home.asp to read their beautiful story and where you can find these YUMMY treats!

My newest favorite location, I can only visit it once a year.  Its on the island of Chincoteague, VA.  I woke up on the second day of vacation feeling very ill with an ear infection.  The weather was over 100 degrees and I didn’t want to stay in the condo alone all day.  After my medication induced nap I went to a little coffee shop called Main Street Shop and Coffee House.  Not knowing what to expect being away from Starbucks and feeling ill, the sweet owner and barista helped me make a wise choice of an iced vanilla americano.  I don’t know if it was the heat or the medicine or being on an island or a combination of all but I had a religious experience.  The coffee was so smooth which is hard to do with an iced americano.  The price was VERY reasonable for a high end coffee on an island!  If you live in the area or planning a trip please visit them at http://www.mainstreet-shop.com/

Coffee is a huge part of our culture in the United States.  Please post your feedback and stories of your coffee experiences good or bad.

Pancakes

Wednesday, July 6th, 2011

I have to admit that breakfast is my favorite meal of the day.  I could eat breakfast food morning, noon or night.  So diverse that it can be light or heavy, healthy or artery clogging, sweet or savory.  I LOVE breakfast food!  All breakfast food!  However, my most favorite breakfast food is the pancake.  Oh, my, goodness!  The pancake!  Light and fluffy, smothered in butter and pure maple syrup.  Yummy and sweet with chocolate chips sprinkled in it with homemade whipped cream on top.  Or the favorite of most, the blueberry pancake with blueberry syrup topped with whipped cream!  Holy smokes, I’m making myself hungry! 

If you know me or know anything about my cooking background, one would think that I can make the best pancake ever.  I mean my website is called JennCanCook for crying out loud!  I would like to let you in on a little secret, up until 3 months ago I was the worst at making pancakes!!!  The worst!  I would make them way too heavy.  I would burn the crap out of them.  When flipping the pancake I would mess that up!  In my frustration I bought the jug that you just add water and shake and still managed to screw it up!  Whew… I’m so glad I got that off my chest! 

Not being able to master my pancake dilemma I turned to the diner to help with my pancake cravings.  Where I live there are not many diners like there would be in a larger city.  We have a lot of “ma and pop” places around me.  These places are where pancake heaven is located.  Fluffy and hot off the grill with the tiniest bit of crispiness around the edges…mmm.  The biggest bummer about these little places is usually the wait.  When I want pancakes I don’t have 20 minutes to stand there with my mouth watering.  That is when we stumbled upon a beautiful accommodation that Bob Evans provides: carryout ordering!  On cold winter lazy days I place an order and pick it up in my jammies within 20 minutes. 

About 3 months ago I decided to take control of this pancake craze and start making my own.  For a wedding present I got a beautiful All-Clad Gormet Grill pan, found at:  http://www.williams-sonoma.com/products/all-clad-double-burner-griddle-with-gift/?pkey=cgrills-griddles%7Cckwgrlgrd  I got that baby out with every recipe book I own and tried their recipes for the next several meals.  I burned, undercooked and spilled almost every one.  I chocked down every recipe until I started picking out what flavors and textures I liked from each one to create my own.  Once I had my recipe I could teach myself how to cook it. 

This is the method I use to write almost all my recipes.  I pick flavors that I like and make it my own.  Burning, spilling and undercooking everything is part of the process.  Dont be afraid of making mistakes, I do just about everyday in the kitchen.

Here is the recipe I came up with.  It took 3 months of development but it was totally worth every spill i had to clean up and every coughing fit I had from a smoke filled house!  Enjoy!

Perfect Pancake topped with Blueberry Syrup

Serves 4-6

2 cups sifted whole wheat flour

2 cups milk (almond, coconut, 2%… whatever, it’s your choice, your pancake)

2 tbs lemon juice

1 tsp vanilla

¼ cup COLD water

1 tsp salt

1tsp baking soda

1tsp baking powder

Dash cinnamon

Blueberry Syrup

1 cup frozen Blueberries

1 cup water

1 cup sugar

In a medium saucepan add blueberries, water and sugar and cook on medium heat.  The sugar will dissolve to create a “simple syrup”.  Continue to simmer down for 30-40 min.  The reduction will have a more concentrated flavor and will be a beautiful deep blue color for your pancakes. 

Sift the flour into a large mixing bowl and set aside.  Measure 2 cups of milk and add the lemon juice.  The lemon juice will make it a little curdled and will sour the milk for a flavor similar to buttermilk.  Don’t worry, this is safe way to use “curdled” milk.  Measure out the salt, baking powder and soda and set aside.  Add the soured milk into the flour little by little, stirring in between.  (You may need to add a little extra milk or a little less, depending on the thickness you desire) Stir in the cinnamon and vanilla for flavor. Just before you reach your desired thickness…STOP ADDING MILK!!!  At this time, add the baking soda, salt and Baking powder into the cold water to dissolve and pour into your batter.  This concoction will bubble a little bit adding fluffy air to your pancakes. 

On a HOT griddle melt butter and pour on the batter.  Flip when ready.  Serve piping hot drizzled with blueberry syrup.

Mint mojito

Tuesday, May 31st, 2011

My aunt introduced me to my favorite drink a few years ago, the mint mojito! I have it many different ways and at many different restaurants but nothing is better than making it on your own. Its simple and cheap and here are a few tips to making mint mojitos all summer long.

Grow your own mint. Mint is extremely easy to grow and it as so many uses around the house and in recipes. However mint is extremely invasive and will take over wherever it is planted. My advise for growing mint is in a large pot, this will prevent it from taking over.

The other reason to grow your own mint is to save money. In the store the cut mint can be up to $4 for a few leaves and God only knows when that was picked.

The most important bartending tool you can have to make this drink is a muddler.  A muddler is a barteding tool used like a pestle to mash, muddler and smash fruit, herbs and spices for drinks to release flavors.  This tool can be found at stores such as Target , Williams-Sonoma and Bed Bath and Beyond for under $20.  They can get pretty expensive so be careful where you search for one.

Enjoy your mint mojitos this summer!  Cheers!

Mint Mojito

Makes one refreshing drink

4-5 mint leaves

1 oz simple syrup

4-5 lime wedges

2 oz of your favorite rum

Topper of soda water or lemon-lime soda

Ice

To make simple syrup measure equal parts of sugar and water and pour into a pan.  Heat until all the sugar is dissolved and the liquid is clear.  Place in an air tight container and store in refrigerator.  Simple syrup expires in one week. 

Place a few rushed iced cubes in the bottom of a tumbler glass along with ripped up mint leaves, limes and simple syrup.  Muddle ingredients together.  Fill tumbler to top with ice and add your rum.  Cover top and shake away!  Remove lid and top with soda.  Garnish with lime and enjoy!

Girl Scout Breakfast

Saturday, May 28th, 2011

A few weekends ago I had the opportunity to spend the night camping in Barnesville Oh with a few dear friends. I was reunighted with my first true love… Girl Scout Breakfast. I have made this meal many times but with a more grown up taste. Two of the best versions of girl Scout Breakfast I got to cook on a larger scale thank Camp Ledgewood. One of which was on Channel 3’s Good Company that had a few substitutions for the mane ingreadients that took a little guilt out of the filling meal. The other favorite recipe I cooked it for a very significant interview in which I took a ton of pictures but cannot give any further details of the nature of the interview. I love this simple breakfast. However on that cold morning in Barnesville the original recipe was made and enjoyed in the warmth of the main cabin by Jean. She announced the night before that she would have Girl Scout Breakfast and hot coffee ready for when we awoke. It was so exciting to run down the long hill with Mr Billson like it was Christmas morning to be with close friends and eat our favorite meal. I hope you enjoy this meal as much as I have. I also have a more grown up recipe in there as well just for good meadure! Enjoy and cheers!

Hash Brown Hash

(Girl Scout Breakfast)

-       4 large potatoes cubed

-       1 lb sausage (I love the spicy)

-       8-12 eggs

-       2 cups shredded cheddar cheese (or your favorite)

In a hot skillet, begin to brown the sausage seasoning with salt and pepper.  Place cubed potatoes in boiling water and boil until fork tender.  Be careful not to overcook the potatoes at this point because they will continue to cook in the skillet.  When tender gently drain the potatoes and set aside.  When sausage is browned remove from the skillet but keep the juices from the sausage in the skillet.  Season the juices with salt and pepper and add 1 tbs butter and GENTLY place the potatoes in the butter juice.  Turn the heat to medium and let the potatoes brown.  They will begin to absorb all the butter juice and get nice and crispy brown.  Flip the potatoes and place 1 to 2 tbs of butter in the middle of the skillet.  The potatoes will again absorb the butter.  When the potatoes are beautiful, brown and crispy, place the sausage back into the skillet.  In a large bowl break all your eggs from the shells and whisk until they are combined.  Be sure to season the eggs with a little salt and pepper.  Pour the egg mixture over the potatoes and sausage, gently stirring.  When the eggs are cooked spoon onto platter and sprinkle cheese over the top.  Cover with aluminum foil for the cheese to melt.  Serve immediately. 

Sweet Potato Hash

-3 large sweet potatoes cubed

-1 quart mushrooms, sliced

-1/2 large white onion

-1 cup dried and sweet cranberries

-1 apple cubed

-1/2 cup feta cheese

-6 large eggs

Bring water to boil in large sauce pot and par boil the sweet potatoes.  Drain the sweet potatoes and set aside.  In large skillet, sauté chopped onions in butter until soft and toss in sweet potatoes.  Spread the potatoes evenly over pan and let cook, turning only occasionally. 

In separate skillet sauté onions in butter or olive oil, season with salt and pepper. 

When the potatoes are brown and crispy pour onto a large platter, layer the mushrooms on top.  Sprinkle the apples, cranberries and feta cheese on top. 

Reheat large skillet and melt butter to cook eggs sunny-side-up. Pour over top of sweet potato hash and serve immediately. 

For these and more recipes go to www.jenncancook.com

Bomboras Grille

Tuesday, April 5th, 2011

While vacationing in Hilton Head this past weekend, we came across a great “chill bar”, Bomboras Grille.  A “chill bar” is exactly that, a cool place to drink and relax.  Its initial draw was the great selection of microbrews and wide knowledge of spirits.  We chilled on the front lawn in rocking chairs, yes rocking chairs, as we watched the warm sun disappear.  But it wasn’t until our second visit the following day that we got to see the cooler side of this “chill bar”.  The owner, Todd, poured me a beer from the bottom of the cup and explained the process (video link below).  This amazing system pours the perfect beer with zero head and minimizes waste.  If you have bartended like me, you know that many things can affect how a beer is poured, and bad pours can create a ton of waste, slowing you down.  This new system was a total hit for me.  After pouring my beer, Todd placed it on a cooling coater on the bar.  This coaster kept my beer ice cold.  Soooo cool!!!  Another fun fact about Bomboras Grille is they are only one of eight in the country to use the iPad as their POS system.  The servers place all orders on their phones!!! 

Bomboras Grille has so many cool features and new ways to enjoy your chill buzz.  The winner for me is if you take away all the cool gadgets there is one valuable feature that is priceless: heart.  Everyone who worked there had this.  Heart is the one thing that will draw a crowd and keep them coming back again and again. 

For more information on the “chill bar” go to: www.bomborasgrille.com

To find out more about bottom up beer go to: www.grinonindustries.com and                         www.bottomsupbeer.com

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zkyPtAlMbpI

Fat Fish Blue: Fish 101

Tuesday, November 2nd, 2010

Growing up when I thought of a restaurant kitchen, I imagined it being a bunch of pretentious fat men tweaking their mustaches and laughing while pouring large amounts of cream into every dish. You may be laughing, but that is the image that cartoons and children’s shows (when I was young, before the Food Network) painted. I have been so fortunate to spend time in the back of the house with great cooks and chefs. I have also been blessed to get to know some of them personally. No, Rachel Ray is not one of them on a personal level, so chill out… well not YET…
If you have not heard of JR Grady, you may have heard of Fat Fish Blue in Cleveland. JR is the executive chef of Fat Fish Blue, and has become my cooking buddy recently. I was first drawn to Fat Fish and JR at the Taste of Cleveland, 2009, when he roasted a whole alligator. AN ENTIRE FREAKIN ALLIGATOR! The energy that he brought to the stage was magnetic and he drew in a HUGE crowd and kept them for the whole demonstration.
JR did not come alone, he brought along his entourage. Let me take a minute to make this clear… his “entourage” was not a cocky act (I have worked and seen a lot a chefs who have people trying to imitate them and their personalities which is just feeding an ego). In the case of JR, this was his close family and friends, or a little blanket of support that were there to have a great time. No one had a soul patch nor was anyone trying to talk like him, it was all great food and a great story.
Meeting over a few beers and those stinkin’ addicting crab cakes at Fat Fish Blue, I talked JR into letting me in his kitchen and giving me a crash course in Fish 101. JR comes from the Gulf coast and knows everything about seafood and fish. I however do not and know absolutely nothing about seafood and fish. I’m always encouraging you to get in the kitchen a make a ton of mistakes, so this is my chance to get a good taste of my own medicine.
I had told JR to push me to my limits and make me cry. He of course threatened that I wouldn’t make it through the day. Walking in his kitchen lead me to believe that the challenge may have been a really bad idea on my part. However I shortly discovered that JR was a great teacher who used stories to show me how something was done or why it was being done. The day started with a bouillabaisse. I had no clue what the hell that meant until It was being made. It’s basically a water/tomato based seafood soup. I cannot exactly remember how to make JR’s Bouillabaisse; I can certainly recreate my own version, but I remember his version of “Rock Soup.”
Rock Soup was a recipe written by soldiers during WWII in Europe. In the countryside, homes and families were destroyed by many battles. The soldiers, and whomever was left from the community, found themselves in a state of famine. A soldier found a nice, round rock, turned to the soldier next to him and said, “I think this will make a great soup.” The other soldier liked the idea and ran to get water while the fire was being built. The two soldiers sat around their simmering pot of Rock Soup, drank their hot coffee and told stories. Soon thereafter, other soldiers smelled the Rock Soup and joined by offering a potato they found. The potato was added to the soup, the circle grew larger, more coffee was passed and the conversation flowed.
Not too long thereafter, a woman came along and told them she knew where to find an onion. She went and found the last onion in the town and added it to the Rock Soup. She then joined the coffee-drinking circle of conversation. A man heard the talking and smelled the Rock Soup. He had the last living chicken in the town and killed it so it too could be added to the soup and he could join the circle of now friends. As the Rock Soup grew, it boiled and its aroma filled the air. The circle and conversation expanded.
The “Rock Soup” story was only the beginning of my day in JR’s kitchen, and the beginning of his many stories. He had a story to go alongside everything he did. Chopping an onion = story. Making rice = story. Making beans = “Hoping John” story. Not every story was as deep as “Rock Soup,” but they were all certainly entertaining. The main theme of almost every story he told was about his friends and family, like how he is hoping to make it home for the holidays this year. He speaks of the southern holidays as a feast of homemade, rich food and tons of desserts, party-hopping from house to house, seeing all of his loved ones. He says that growing up in the south was about eating off the land. Meals were made of necessity. You may have one vegetable while your neighbor had another and there was a mutual trade between the two.
I love this concept. If the summers were longer and I actually had a yard for farming, I would be trading with everyone I knew. I have a decent herb garden that is used by my neighbors…same thing, right?!?!
There were two times that day that JR stopped talking and really focused on his craft. The first time, he began teaching me how to make his famous crab cakes. I would love to post the recipe, but why make them yourself if you can make a short drive to have the best? He was very particular about which ingredients go in at what time and how they needed to be mixed and shaped. I had a lot of respect for this attention to detail. I have the same mentality when it comes to making cookies. It’s a craft and that is why his crab cakes are the best around! Just to let you know, making these cakes is a little time consuming, as they do not come frozen. The beautiful cakes are made in-house.
The second time he went quiet, it was merely to make my nerves go haywire. A little background: I do not know jack about fish (except sharks because I am obsessed with them and their ability to take a limb off). Beef, poultry and vegetables, on the other hand, I am very secure with…but fish, no way. JR ordered a half halibut and let me butcher it. Let me tell ya, I was terrified that I would mess up and lose Fat Fish a lot of money. The thing about cooking in others restaurant is that messing up their recipe can affect their reputation. I mean, I can chop an onion, but I didn’t know how he wanted them chopped for his recipe. However, the longer I was there, the more confident I grew and began feeling wonderful about my minor accomplishment.
Anyways, back to butchering a halibut… terrified. Three things you need: a very sharp knife (if you do not have a knife sharpener go to www.jenncancook.com to order one now!), a steady hand, and a great teacher. I am a great teacher but I have to be confident with the information I’m passing on. Butchering a halibut is not my forte. I could not sit here and walk you through it, but I can pass to you the key things I learned. First, practice makes perfect. I always say this. It’s hard, though, because fish can be quite expensive in these parts. But if you are feeding a small party, instead of buying 8-ounce steaks, you can get away with 4-ounce fish filets. Plush fish is much more elegant and unexpected. Next, the more confident you are in slicing and skinning, the more even and smooth it will be. When JR told me this, a light went off. I never thought of this in cooking but always in pouring drinks. If you pour your steamed milk faster, with confidence, you prevent spilling and make the drink of better quality. Finally, when cooking your fish, lay the skin side down. You will only need to turn it over once, and you want the presentation side to cook second.
If you are looking for a night of fun with friends, family, or a date, be sure to make your way to Fat Fish Blue. Their food is delicious reasonably priced. The atmosphere is always festive, and now you know that the executive chef brings a lot of soul and heart to the kitchen and the table.

Throw the Benadryl out the window!!

Wednesday, September 15th, 2010

Throw the Benadryl out the window!

            Starting in early August I find myself waking up in the middle of the night itching my throat and sneezing.  As the days go on it gets worse and worse, to the point that I feel sick.  I cannot keep taking allergy pills because they make me dizzy and high.  What the heck are we allergy sufferers supposed to do?  There is not a cure for seasonal allergies, but here are a few ways to help you suffer…less. 

            HONEY… Local honey is what works.  Whether you drink it in tea, pour it over your oatmeal or straight up, honey is my favorite allergy fix.  The breakdown of why honey works: The blooming, pollinating plants and trees outside your window are making your eyes, throat sinuses itchy and watery.  The bees pollinate the blooming plants and trees, take it to the hive and make honey.  Inside the honey are tiny pollen particles which are very powerful inoculators.  The more local the more likely the bees pollinated the same blooms that are bothering your sinuses. 

WARNING: Children under the age of 1 year should not ingest honey.  If it were my children (if I had any) I would hold off giving them honey until the age of 5. 

            HERBS…  I grow herbs in my garden all around the house.  They are great, cheap accents to food and drinks.  There are many different varieties of herbs that will enhance or help any meal or allergy or headaches.  To relieve allergies take a handful of mint (as many varieties you have growing) and steep them for 4 minutes.  To steep simply put herbs in boiling water and let sit.  If you don’t have a steeping pot, pick one up at Target or Starbucks.  They both run about $25.  Starbucks also has one for under $20 that is for on the go.  To make this steeped herbal allergy relief more powerful add honey to it. 

            Next time you get an allergy attack close the cabinet door and leave the Benadryl ALONE.  Try these natural allergy remedies and see how great you will feel.  You will thank me later.