I'm a beer connoisseur/homebrewer and professional chef. Focus on Latin cuisine but trained in French technique.

  • Location: Northern NJ

Latest Comments

Orange Sweet Potato Juice

Full of Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Sugar, and Starch. Some parsley might go well in here, too.

How is the texture?

Throw Away Your Blade Coffee Grinder

-Fresh ground quality whole beans
-Burr grinder
-French press with appropriate execution
-Black coffee, preferred (though a small amount of sweetener is acceptable)

Follow this and you'll never go back, or even buy overpriced coffee from a shoppe. It's truly amazing how flavorful and smooth your coffee turns out.

Diet Coke vs. Coke Zero

No soda crew checking in.

Nothing but empty calories and phosphoric acid, melting away at your enamel.

There is no such thing as calorie free liquid unless you're drinking water. Artificial sweeteners contain 4 calories per gram. Good luck with your "no-calorie" soda.

Uncommon food allergies that nobody believes?

And I'm also allergic to the yellow-orange Rainier cherries, but not regular cherries. Go figure.

Uncommon food allergies that nobody believes?

For me, only certain stone fruits such as peaches, apples, plums. Peaches are the worst. I used to think it was because I was not buying organic, but that theory failed.

Also, raw almonds. Though I'm fine with the roasted almonds or any other form of almond for some reason.

What to do with pomegranate seeds

With Salad
With Dessert
Inside Champagne on New Years
Juiced with other fruits

Caramelized Vidalia Onion Mashed Potatoes

It was suprising to come across this recipe since I created a very similar idea, but my execution was a lot different.

You basically sweat the seasoned, sliced Vidalia onions until translucent, being careful not to brown/caramelize them. Afterward, pour in cream and reduce until au sec (no residual liquid in pan). Puree onions until smooth and pass through a fine mesh sieve. Use a bit of the onion puree in combination with sour cream to thin out the mashed potatoes (instead of milk). Add shredded cheddar cheese and butter. Combine and top with minced chives for garnish.

The result will be a very thick, smooth, rich, cheesy version of mashed potatoes that I like to call: Pierogi-Style Mashed Potatoes. If you've ever had a potato-onion-cheese pierogi before this tastes exactly like it.

Cornbread recipe

Sheet pan...

From memory, the best cornbread I have ever had included:

Gold Medal brand Cornmeal (very important)
Sour cream (magic ingredient)
Whole milk
Clarified butter

I haven't made it in awhile so I can't remember the quantities offhand. The last four ingredients were used very sparingly. The clarified butter was included in the batter, but also used for brushing the surface when done.

Potato Question

You have to rinse the starch off first... that's where you went wrong.

Also, use Russets. Do not peel. The skin is very nutritious.

If diced small enough, you won't need to preboil the potatoes. They will cook just fine in the oven.

If diced larger, add cold diced potatoes with skin on to a pot of cold water. Add salt and a dash of vinegar. Bring to a simmer. Turn off heat. Drain in colander. Let air dry.

Toss with bacon fat or other oil. Season generously with salt and pepper... maybe paprika. Add a few sprigs of thyme/rosemary and lightly crushed garlic clove. Roast in oven at 425 F, turning once or twice until golden brown and crispy, but not dry. Add chopped cooked bacon and shredded cheddar. Stir to combine. Garnish with chopped chive. Correct seasoning before serving since it may need more salt.

Tell me about bison

I hear that chefs around Denver pack ground bison with shaved ice so that it's not so dry when it is finally cooked to mid rare. Personally, I would infuse more fat into the mince for a better job of retaining moisture.

As far as the nutrition aspect, I wouldn't be too concerned. Eat whatever meat you want. We're all gonna make it. Mass media is great at fooling us about what is labeled healthy vs. supposedly not.

What should I do with all these persimmons?

Forgot to mention that less sugar will be needed in the recipe, since persimmons are naturally sweet.

What should I do with all these persimmons?

Scoop out the pulp of the Fuyu variety and use in place of canned pumpkin for any recipe you have on hand.

Pork Tenderloin question

I almost always do the following with Pork Tenderloin due to the presentation, tenderness, and flavor it adds:

1. Peel off silverskin & any extraneous fat. Marinate for a day (optional).
2. Rest on plastic wrap & cover with another layer of plastic wrap.
3. Pound out until 1/2 inch thin, being careful not to tear the meat. Season.
4. Stuff with a flavorful filling of pre-cooked mixed greens, garlic, sun-dried tomato, mushroom, prosciutto, fontina cheese, bacon, or anything you desire.
5. Roll into a roulade and tie with twine.
6. Season outside generously and sear in a hot pan with oil.
7. Once golden brown, cook in a very low oven (250 F) until the interior of the meat registers approx. 135 F. Serve with a rich sauce & pasta or potatoes.

Authentic Bolognese

The truth is usually so simple. Most of these great recipes that stood the test of time originated as rural peasant dishes. So "very traditionally" speaking, Bolognese was probably a one pot meal of mostly vegetable ragu with a short cooking time and minimal meat added. A very farm to table type of dish. It was likely later altered to primarily be a meat-based sauce with several additional ingredients.

But, Google is your friend:

"The earliest documented recipe for a meat-based sauce (ragù) served with pasta comes from late 18th century Imola, near Bologna.

The sauce called for predominantly lean veal filet along with pancetta, butter, onion, and carrot. The meats and vegetables were to be finely minced, cooked with butter until the meats browned, then covered and cooked with broth. Artusi commented that the taste could be made even more pleasant by adding small pieces of dried mushroom, a few slices of truffle, or chicken liver cooked with the meat and diced. As a final touch, he also suggested adding half a glass of cream to the sauce when it was completely done to make it taste even smoother.

Artusi recommended serving this sauce with a medium size pasta ("horse teeth") made from durum wheat. The pasta was to be made fresh, cooked until it was firm, and then flavored with the sauce and Parmigiano cheese.

Seasoning is limited to salt, pepper and the occasional pinch of nutmeg."

Later added/altered in the past 150 years:

Fresh Tagliatelle

"Some have suggested the recipe registered by the Accademia Italiana della Cucina in 1982 as the "most authentic". The academy's recipe confines the ingredients to beef cut from the plate section (cartella di manzo), fresh unsmoked pancetta (pancetta di maiale distesa), onions, carrot, celery, passata (or tomato purée), meat broth, dry wine (red or white, not sparkling), milk, salt and pepper. The option of adding a small amount of cream at the end of the preparation is recommended."

Personally, I don't mind this recipe:

It's done in 30 minutes, and while not authentic, it tastes great.

Splenda/sugar substitutes in cocktails

Regular sugar, or turbinado sugar works just fine... that's what they use in Brazil and the Islands. No need to use fine sugar. It's all about the process. You just need to put 10 more seconds into the assembly of your cocktail and the sugar will dissolve just fine.

Flavors for infusing gin

Cucumber and Rose Petals...

Hendrick's baby!

The best gin for gimlets?

Familiar examples everyone should know... From worst to best flavor/character:

Tier 4: Seagrams
Tier 3: Bombay
Tier 2: Beefeater
Tier 1: Hendricks

When you get to the likes of Hendricks, keep it simple. I love it stirred with ice shards, a small squeeze of lime, and garnished with cucumber and/or watermelon balls (use your melon baller). It's amazing how something so simple can taste so great and refreshing. Plus, the cucumber compliments the recipe Hendrick's gin is distilled from. A splash of Rose water would also be an interesting option.

Premium White Rum

"One that I would definitely avoid is a Brazilian rum called Pitu. It has a really odd grassy verdant smell to it, and its strangely bitter. I could barely finish the bottle."

Pitu is not rum. It's cachaca. And it's the worst cachaca available on the market, yet everyone seems to carry it. Leblon will change your mind about cachaca... If you can't find it, look for the Cachaca 51 brand.

Premium White Rum

I would never buy a premium white rum... instead I'd buy Cachaca, which is quite similar, albeit better and made from sugar cane.

I'd make Caipirinhas all day. Leblon is a great brand.

How to make or where to buy Horchata in Chicago?

Oh man, I had a great recipe for this but cannot locate it.

I know that it contained ground almonds, cinnamon, turbinado sugar, scraped vanilla bean, washed long-grain rice, and water or better yet... Blue Diamond Breeze Almond-Coconut milk blend (which you can find unrefrigerated in most supermarkets).

Chile Infused Tequila

Jalapenos are too vegetal for this application IMO...

Habaneros are inherently fruity/tropical, but not over the top with sugar like a pineapple would be.

Chile Infused Tequila

Make a shallow incision into the sides of 3 to 5 orange habanero chiles while leaving them whole.

"Float" the chiles in a liter of tequila overnight in a dark, room temperature spot. Drink the next evening. You can leave the chiles in the tequila for a couple weeks, up to a month. The flavor will become slightly spicer and more complex.

This idea is great for a spicy margarita with additions of fresh lime juice, light agave nectar, ice shards, and a splash of water. No salt or orange liqueur since it's more refreshing and traditional without those ingredients.

Flat steaks - flank, flat iron, flap, hanger?

Hanger steak is amazing. You'll want to start with a room temperature steak, patted dry to rid excess surface moisture. Lightly brush both sides with a high heat cooking oil and generously season with kosher salt and fresh cracked black pepper.

In a screaming hot black steel or cast iron pan, get that amazing sear on both sides first. Then while the meat is still rare, add 2 cloves of lightly smashed garlic, a few sprigs of thyme, and a knob of butter. Tilt the pan and baste with the melted butter mixture until mid rare. Cooking past this point will yield a very gamey taste and tough meat.

Skirt steak is also a viable option. Both steaks have a flavor akin to the organ meat they surround in the cow, which may sound gross to some, but is actually quite complex when some of that natural flavor infuses into the steak.

I like to serve them with roasted garlic mashed potatoes and broccoli rabe tossed with minced shallots and a red wine Demi to tame the bitterness.

Bourbon Renewal

I second the Evan Williams suggestion. The character of more expensive bourbon than this will get lost among all of the other competing flavors.

I respect Morgenthaler as a bartender. He makes a unique "Sangrita" with pomegranate juice in place of tomato, which is a traditional shooter accompaniment to tequila.

This particular drink is fruity for my tastes. If I were to go a similar route, I'd opt for Midnight Moon Blueberry Moonshine instead. You wouldn't even need to mix it with anything.

Japanese-Style (Kewpie) Mayo

You could try using soy sauce for umami and saltiness... in place of the kosher salt and MSG.