February 22, 2014
New Providence is set to become a culinary mecca when the inaugural Minority Chef Summit rolls into town.
The four-day event, May 1-4 will showcase the talents and creativity of some of the leading minority professionals in the food and beverage industry worldwide.
Taking place at The College of The Bahamas, the summit will include an array of seminars, hands-on classes and competitions, as well as a culinary market. The conference will allow culinarians to come together to network, educate and to support the minority culinary community.
The Minority Chef Summit was founded by chef and chocolatier, Erika Davis, who formerly served as creative director for Graycliff Chocolatier in Nassau, and who is a highly-celebrated chef within the culinary field. Chef Erika has been in the chocolate-making industry for over 22 years, and recognized as one of the United States' top chefs. She has received many note-worthy commendations, among which include: Competing Chef 'Top Chef Just Desserts' inaugural show by Bravo; First Black female chef to receive Detroit's Chef of the Month; Showcased in several culinary magazines and invitational culinary events; Featured chef of 'Sunday Dinner' promotion with Publix Grocery Stores and Chocolatier Ambassador of Cocoa Barry Chocolates.
Chef Erika's time spent in New Providence working with and teaching aspiring Bahamian chefs lies at the heart of her inspiration for creating the Minority Chef Summit.
"This is a unique opportunity to come together, recognizing not only our individual craft, but the true excellence of our culinary community," she said.
The 2014 Minority Chef Summit keynote speaker will be Chef Jeff Henderson, an award-winning chef, public speaker and author of the New York Times best seller 'Cooked'.
Additional featured culinary artists include:
Chef Asha Gomez, owner/chef of Cardamom Hill Restaurant and Third Space in Atlanta, GA. Cardamom Hill was a 2013 James Beard nominee for Best New Restaurant.
Chef Jerome Brown, a celebrity private chef whose clientele include Shaquille O'Neal, Colin Powell and Priscilla Presley, to name a few. Chef Brown also has his own TV show, 'Cooking with Rome'.
Chef Guy Wong, owner/chef of Miso Izakaya, who was recently named one of Atlanta's 2012 Rising Stars.
Chef Ron Duprat, a fierce competitor on season six of Bravo's 'Top Chef.' Chef Duprat is author of "My Journey of Cooking" and is affiliated with organizations that contribute and give back to the community and people around the world, including United States First Lady Michelle Obama's Let's Move initiative.
Chef Keith Rhodes, voted Wilmington, NC's Best Chef for three consecutive years.
Chef Hugh Sinclair, executive chef and owner of Irie Spice personal catering in South Florida.
Chef Bryant Terry, eco-chef, food justice activist, and author. Terry was a 2008-2010 Food and Society Policy Fellow, a national Program of the W.K. Kellogg Foundation.
Chef Dana Herbert, owner of Desserts by Dana and winner of TLC's 'Cake Boss Next Great Baker'.
Chef Kenny Gilbert, executive chef of Plainfield Country Club and contestant on season seven of Bravo's 'Top Chef'.
Chef Nedal Mardini, chef de cuisine of Matthews Restaurant in Jacksonville.
Chef Thierry Delourneaux, executive pastry chef at Fairmont Singapore and Swissotel The Stamford in Singapore.
Chef farmer, Matthew Raiford, a sixth generation farmer behind Gilliard Farms and executive chef of Little St. Simons Island a private resort located off the coast of Georgia.
Chef Dwight Evans, who was recently awarded Chef of the Year by the American Culinary Federation.
Chef Duane Nutter, chef at One Flew South, voted one of the best airport restaurants; as well as mixologists, Tiffanie Barriere and Tokiwa Sears, from One Flew South.
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February 15, 2014
There are bakers and there are cooks. It takes a chemist's love of precision to be a baker. Me? I'm a cook.
However, I do love to bake bread. In fact, I've been on a bread baking kick for several years, experimenting with everything from the old-fashioned knead-it-up method to neo-hippy, grow-your-ownwild-yeast-before-you-evenstart-mixing-the-dough recipes. Recently, however, I learned a method so wonderful that my experimental wanderings may be over.
The breakthrough occurred when I took a class with the legendary Jim Lahey, founder of Sullivan Street Bakery in New York and the man behind a sensational recipe for noknead, slow-rise, no-fuss bread. Maybe just reading about it left me skeptical. Could baking bread really be as easy as he suggested?
Yes, it can. I went home after the class and adjusted his basic formula to my liking, adding extra whole-wheat flour, toasted walnuts and rosemary. Otherwise, I followed his instructions, weighed the ingredients, mixed them together and turned out an attractive, delicious loaf of bread.
One of the ways to ensure your success here is by measuring your flour by weight, not volume. When you scoop and measure flour by volume -- such as using a measuring cup -- the amount of flour you get each time can vary widely, sometimes by several ounces. The discrepancy is due to how tightly or loosely the flour is packed. A few ounces may not sound like much, but it can make a big difference in baked goods.
That's why I recommend investing in a good kitchen scale if you're going to bake bread. The one I own, which registers both ounces and grams, has turned out to be useful for any number of kitchen tasks.
And please remember, this is not your grandmother's bread, or at least it's not your grandmother's method of making bread. So don't be thrown off by the wetness of the dough (it's very wet), the temperature of the water added (it's cool, not warm), or the temperature at which the dough first rises (it's room temp, not warmer).
The only down side to this recipe is the need to plan ahead. Even though mixing the dough takes no time at all (30 seconds), you have to let it rise for at least 12, and preferably 18, hours. Then, after you've shaped it into a loaf (another 30 seconds), it needs to rise for yet another hour or two. Finally, it takes 45 to 60 minutes for the bread to bake, and it has to cool completely before you can eat it.
But if you can deal with the amount of time necessary for the dough to set up, you may find yourself eating really scrumptious, fresh and healthy artisanal bread several times a week. And every time you bake one of these loaves, your whole house smells wonderful.
NO-KNEAD WALNUT-ROSEMARY BREAD
Start to finish: 14 hours (20 minutes active)
Makes 1 loaf (10 servings)
1/2 cup (50 grams) coarsely chopped walnuts
2 cups (266 grams) bread flour
1 cup (133 grams) whole-wheat flour
1 1/4 teaspoons (8 grams) table salt
3/4 teaspoon (2 grams) instant or rapid-rise yeast
2 tablespoons (6 grams) chopped rosemary
1 1/3 cups (350 grams) cool water (55 F to 65 F)
Additional flour, wheat bran or cornmeal, for dusting Heat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Place the walnuts in a shallow baking dish, then place in the oven on the middle shelf to toast for 10 to 12 minutes. Set aside to cool. Once the nuts are cooled, in a medium bowl stir them together with both flours, the salt, yeast and rosemary. Add the water and stir briefly with a wooden spoon or your hands, just until the dough is barely mixed, about 30 seconds.
The dough should be quite wet and tacky. If it is not, add 1 to 2 tablespoons more water. Cover the bowl and let it rise at room temperature for 12 to 18 hours, or until it is more than double in bulk.
After the dough has risen, generously sprinkle a work surface with flour and gently, with the help of a plastic bench scraper, scoop out the dough onto the counter.
Working very quickly, with floured hands, fold the dough inward to the center on all sides to form a seam. Turn the dough over to form a round with the seam on the bottom. Generously sprinkle a clean kitchen towel with flour. Lay the towel flat on the counter and set the dough on top, seam down. Sprinkle the top of the dough lightly with flour and loosely fold the ends of towel over the dough.
Let the dough rise in a warm place for 1 to 2 hours, or until almost doubled in bulk. You will know it is ready when you poke the dough and it holds your imprint. If the dough bounces back, it is not ready.
About 30 minutes before you think the dough is ready, heat the oven to 475 F. Put a rack in the lower third of the oven, and place a covered 4 1/2 to 5 1/2 quart casserole dish in the oven to heat.
When the dough has risen, carefully remove the casserole dish from the oven and remove the lid. With the aid of the tea towel, flip the dough gently, seam side up, into the casserole, put the lid on the casserole and return it to the oven. Bake for 30 minutes. Carefully remove the lid and bake until the bread has browned nicely, another 15 to 30 minutes.
Remove the casserole dish from the oven and use a spatula or dish towel to carefully transfer the bread to a rack to cool completely before slicing.
Nutrition information per serving: 180 calories; 40 calories from fat (22 percent of total calories); 5 g fat (0 g saturated; 0 g trans fats); 0 mg cholesterol; 30 g carbohydrate; 3 g fiber; 0 g sugar; 6 g protein; 290 mg sodium.
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January 18, 2014
The Super Bowl won't touch down in New Jersey until next month, but the New York restaurant scene already is rolling out the turf carpet.
The city with the endless appetite for great food is going all out for the big game, mounting a culinary spectacle in keeping with the overthe-top nature of the event.
"We go crazy for things,"said Kate Krader, Food and Wine magazine's restaurant editor and a lifelong New Yorker. "But I'm kind of astonished at the level of things people are doing."
Exhibit A -- The 50 Yard Lounge. At the intersection of Madison Square Garden and Penn Station, the 50 Yard Lounge will offer what amounts to a five-day food and wine festival with athletes. Heated roof decks, tented plazas and restaurants will showcase themed menus from top New York chefs while current and former NFL players mingle with diners.
In some of the many chefand-athlete demonstrations, Michelin-starred chef Michael White will teach Football Hall of Fame receiver Cris Carter to make pasta. And celebrity butcher Pat LaFrieda will show three-time Super Bowl champion Matt Light, formerly of the New England Patriots, how to break down meat.
"It's about New York City chefs, New York City music, and about experiencing the Super Bowl in New York City,"said Lonny Sweet, founder of marketing agency The Connect Group and creator of the event. "I felt I had an opportunity to show what makes this city so great."
The Super Bowl also will give rise to Forty Ate, a popup steakhouse created by hospitality giant Danny Meyer where VIP tables will cost $50,000 -- food and drink included.
Commissioned from Meyer by the NFL and hosted in the Renaissance New York Times Square Hotel, the restaurant will serve burgers, steak and pasta with a view of "Super Bowl Boulevard," which is a section of Broadway converted into a street fair featuring a giant toboggan run.
A more modest offering will be found in Brooklyn, where the charity Taste of the NFL will hold its annual fundraiser to combat hunger. The event, which costs $700 per ticket, will bring former players as well as chefs including Tertulia's Seamus Mullen and "Cake Boss" Buddy Valastro to the Brooklyn Cruise Terminal.
Meanwhile, all across the city, independent restaurants from the famous to the obscure are getting in on the game. A.G. Kitchen on the Upper West Side will enlarge its famous Cubano, stretching the roast pork-ham-andcheese sub to 6 feet long.
"It gets away from the Italian subs people are used to,"said restaurant co-owner Spencer Rothschild. "All of New York is being transformed. Every restaurant should find a way to step up."The Asian-accented barbecue joint Fatty 'Cue is offering feasts of whole pig, brisket or lamb to eat at its two restaurants or for take-out. And Taquitoria, a Lower East Side shop that serves only the deep-fried, cigar-like tortillas called taquitos, offers 40-piece boxes of Buffalo chicken taquitos throughout football season. On game day, says owner and manager Brad Holtzman, they expect to do 99 percent of their business for takeout.
"They're the perfect food to sit on your couch and watch the game," he said.
Across the bridge in Brooklyn, the chicken-and-waffle restaurant Sweet Chick will create special combinations to let diners vote with their mouths. Chicken gumbo might top a rice waffle, says co-owner John Seymour. It's too bad New Orleans won't be in the big game.
But, salmon cakes might perch on a coffee waffle, which would be great if Seattle makes it.
And if Denver makes it, there's something else. Keep in mind, recreational marijuana was recently legalized in Denver, so hemp will definitely be in the waffle. "I wish we could do a pot waffle, but we don't want to get closed down," Seymour said.
Even uber-hip Roberta's, a vanguard of cool in the Bushwick section of Brooklyn, is mounting a Tiki bar with football-shaped calzones, cheese pretzels and "cheap pitchers."
"To me that shows just how deep the food scene in this city," Krader said, "is buying into the Super Bowl."
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January 04, 2014
When Giovan Cooper first explored a vegan diet a few years back, he had the mindset that he could not do it. He thought that veganism, a type of vegetarian diet that excludes meats, eggs, dairy products and all other animal-derived ingredients would be horrible -- now he's offering up vegan fare raw and cooked to show that it's not as horrible as people may think.
Cooper, who refers to himself by the moniker "Da Bahamian Vegan" and has been offering twice-a-week lunch deliveries for the past six months, is taking his services outside of his home to a brick and mortar location to serve his vegan food from the Delancy Towne Bed and Breakfast located at Delancy Street.
In an attempt to test the market, Cooper will open for seven hours for three consecutive Saturdays -- today, January 11 and 18 (and possibly the corresponding Sundays to accommodate those of the Seventh-day Adventist faith and Rastafarian religion) offering breakfast between 7 a.m. and 11 a.m. and lunch from 12 noon to 3 p.m. The three-week introduction to vegan meals and drinks is being offered as Cooper looks at the possibility of officially opening the restaurant full time.
"The next three weeks will pretty much be our test run to see the response we're going to receive as [people] have been asking for it," said Cooper. "But it's one thing to ask for it and it's available and not supported, so we wanted to take this time to see if this is something we would be moving forward with and whether we would be implementing more days once we're officially launched."
For the launch, which Cooper has dubbed $5 Saturdays, he will offer small menus that will change each weekend.
"We're going to have a variety over the next three weekends to show people that vegans eat a whole lot of different foods and we're not limited to one dish or one breakfast item. The whole purpose of Da Bahamian Vegan is to get rid of that stigma that the food is the same all the time, or that it's bland. "We won't be lacking on taste, presentation or sacrifice any ingredients and we're going to keep it clean," he said.
Today he opens service with banana and blueberry pancakes with date syrup for breakfast and a raw vegan lasagna or sweet potato gnocchi with basil and kale pesto for lunch. He will serve green smoothies, ginger fever grass tea (hot or cold) and vegan fritters all day. Every menu item will be sold for $5 and the portions scaled down from regular sizes to reflect the price. He will also offer free samples of his guava duff all day.
If he gets the support he's looking for, Cooper says Da Bahamian Vegan at Delancy Town Bed and Breakfast could become a staple with a set menu.
"Over the next three weeks we will be playing with the menu and seeing what person's interests are and what they like," he said.
For those people that will venture into the restaurant to get their first taste of vegan fare he said they should expect freshness - nothing will taste as if it came out of a can or has been processed.
"The pancakes will taste like pancakes, even though we're using spelt flour (which has less gluten that regular flour) and you're going to have fresh bananas and blueberries. I'm excited about the syrup that I'm serving it with which is actually made with dates that I'm pureeing and keeping natural with cane sugar and a hint of vanilla."
For gnocchi lovers, he assures that the dish will be as light as they expect of the potato dumpling. He's excited about the basil and kale pesto he will serve with it.
"I'm excited about our pesto because I usually make a basil pesto and this time I figured I'd throw some kale in there so people can see that it can be used differently other than just smoothies."
His raw vegan lasagna will be made with yellow squash, even though he usually uses green zucchini. It will be served with a raw marinara sauce and have everything that would be put into a typical tomato sauce, but instead of using tomato paste or canned tomatoes, he uses over-ripened tomatoes, fresh garlic, fresh basil and throws in bell peppers, onions, garlic and carrots.
And of course his cheese sauce is not cheese, because he doesn't use any animal products. It's a cashew-based sauce with nutritional yeast and a little liquid smoke to give it that smoky taste that cheese has. Cooper promises it will be hearty, but light.
His vegan fritters are pinto bean based with eggplant, corn, okra and different vegetables and are seasoned like a regular conch fritter. They are deep fried and loved by everyone who tries them who are shocked that he's able to replicate the beloved Bahamian conch fritter, he said.
He serves his vegan fritters with a sauce similar to conch fritter sauce that he refers to as Calypso sauce. He eliminated the mayonnaise, added coconut milk, so people get the same color, the same taste, and the same consistency and creaminess, but you get a different experience with a hint of coconut milk in the background.
For those who question why he fries his fritters, Cooper says: "We also like to give people a guilty pleasure as well and once in a while it's fine."
With the weekend openings, the weekday deliveries no longer take place. If he continues with weekdays at Delancy, Cooper said he would keep the menu small and as they go along they can expand to more openings.
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December 28, 2013
It's associated with luxury and is a definitive symbol of a party, so popping the cork on fizzy champagnes or sparkling wines to mark the New Year as the clock strikes midnight on New Year's Eve definitely goes hand-in-hand. And with five days to a new year, one sommelier is encouraging people to not be afraid to try something new.
Jerome Smith, a clerk at Jade Imports Company Wine Store located in Suite 110 Sandyport says he feels too many people get caught up in thinking they don't recognize a name and are therefore apprehensive about wines and libations. But he says when looking for a champagne to mark the occasion, he encourages them not to think too much about price, but more about taste. He says if a bottle of champagne or sparkling wine tastes good to you, then it's the bottle for you.
"Price does not mean anything," said Smith. "With the less expensive sparkling wines you get a lower quality grape and they add a lot of flavoring and sulfites which gives you the headaches and bad feelings. When you get up into the good quality champagnes you do get better flavors, less additives and basically more bang for the bucks -- and of course when you wake up in the morning you won't feel as bad as you did when you buy the less expensive stuff.
If you step through the doors to Jade Imports Company Wine Store, in search of your celebratory libation, Smith will steer you towards the Tribaut Champagne (Brut and Rose which are 90-pointers in Wine Spectator Magazine) and Made by G Sparkling Wine in its inventory -- both brands Smith said would be perfect to pop to bring in the New Year.
"People come into the store and don't really recognize the name [Tribaut] like [other more well-known champagnes], but again as far as the critics are concerned Tribaut stands up to them just as well or even better," he said.
With champagne sales falling flat for the second year in a row as people are less willing to pay a premium for the French bubbly, and less expensive substitutes grow in popularity, according to world reports, even Jade Imports Company Wine Store has reduced prices on their bubbly for the occasion. A bottle of Tribaut Rose that was $96.74 is selling for $49, and a bottle of Tribaut Brut that was $85.22 is now $44. A Blanc de Blanc is selling for $23.
"Just because you pay more doesn't mean it's actually better. And you do have to consider that a lot of marketing actually goes into a product, so of course they spend more on advertising dollar and it becomes a little more popular, gets into the heads of people. But just because something is popular or expensive, doesn't mean you're getting something superior."
After the Tribaut Champagne, his second recommendation to pop to celebrate would be a sparkling wine Jade Imports Company Wine Store also carries exclusively called Made by G which retails for about $40.
Both champagne and sparkling wines are both sparkling wines, but a sparkling wine should only be called Champagne if it comes from the region of Champagne, France. Otherwise, it should be known as sparkling wine.
"Of course there are cheaper, less expensive sparkling wines, but it's almost one of those that where if you pay a little more you can get better quality," he said.
Whatever bottle you pop to celebrate the New Year, Smith said you should expect to get between four to five, 4-ounce pours per bottle, which will help you determine how many bottles you need to celebrate with that special someone or with a gathering of friends.
And if you don't finish up a complete bottle, he said that you don't have to throw good money down the drain. Smith says your fizzy can be preserved for about three days in the refrigerator, depending on the amount of bubbly that is left in the bottle, and to simply top with a rubber bottle stopper.
Jade Imports opened in 2011, and on Sunday past celebrated first anniversary at their Sandyport location.
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December 14, 2013
A popular Christmas carol speaks to children nestled all snug in their beds while visions of sugar plums danced in their heads, but on the other side of the equation the adults are thinking about the feast on the big day -- the turkey, the glazed ham and all the trimmings -- but that means hours in the kitchen. But if you prefer to spend time with your family rather than being a slave in the kitchen, Sandals Royal Bahamian Hotel Executive Sous Chef Seanette Brice-Cooper said there are alternatives to make preparing your Christmas Day meal easier.
She said things like deboning the turkey, roasting it unstuffed as opposed to stuffed, can take hours of your preparation time, and free up oven time so that you move on to other menu items in a more timely manner which means you can get out of the kitchen even earlier.
Brice-Cooper who has been nominated for the Cacique Awards Chef of the Year multiple times says in a quest to simplify the Christmas meal this year, she recommends serving an herb-roasted stuffed turkey roulade with apple walnut stuffing and cranberry giblet gravy; and for a twist on the ham she suggests serving a tropical fruit glazed ham with sides of choice.
The maximum time for turkey roulade is one hour and 45 minutes, and she said most people opt to boil their ham before even sticking it into the oven, but she said in today's world, the hams are all fully cooked and does not even need to boiled beforehand.
"A turkey roulade is different from the norm, but will still give your family the taste of Christmas dinner that they crave," which is why it makes it perfect for the day," she said. "The most difficult part of the turkey she says is in the deboning." If you don't think you can debone a turkey, she says you can have the butcher do it, or ask a chef friend to do it for you. But if you're up to the challenge, she said it's not difficult as long as you have the proper knife and simply follow the bone to remove the meat.
She seasons both turkey halves with a dry rub and allows it to marinate, before stuffing with an apple walnut stuffing, wrapping it up jelly roll style (or guava duff style), ties with butcher's twice (you can also wrap it in foil paper), place into a pre-heated oven and roast.
"The turkey roulade is worth a try because it's delicious and it's different," she said. "Your family will be wowed because it's such a great idea, and you can serve it with your regular sides like sweet potatoes, green beans, peas n' rice or garlic mashed potatoes."
She also encourages you to nix your regular glaze for a fruity twist to make another Christmas staple that's a little different. Her glaze has pineapples, maraschino cherries, peaches and pears, fruits that she cooks down with spices like all spice, ground cloves ginger, along with brown sugar, honey for sweetness and orange for an acidic balance. She cooks the mixture for 20 minutes, and thickens with cornstarch. She says it's a glaze that will make the holiday ham extra special -- it's tropical, sweet, salty and aromatic all rolled up into one.
"The flavors of this ham is different and goes outside the norm of just plain pineapple," said the chef. "The glaze also gives the ham as shiny appearance."
And the one thing she wishes people won't do this year -- that's boil their ham until its tasteless, especially if they purchase one that's fully cooked. She said most people boil their ham until it's flavorless and then try to put flavor back into the meat by slathering it with sauces and glazes.
"A ham that is fully cooked does not have to be boiled to death. You can boil it for a brief period to remove some of the saltiness if you like, but don't boil it for hours on end," she said.
Chef Brice-Cooper recommends braising the ham in the oven, by putting a little water into the bottom of the pan with the ham in the oven as an alternative to boiling. This method she says will take a little longer, at least two hours, for the ham to reach an internal temperature of 185 degrees, but she says you won't end up with a tasteless piece of meat. If you're using the oven-braising method, the chef recommends that you remove the ham skin, score the fat into one-inch diamonds, and skim off the fat that will accumulate in the bottom of the pan as it cooks. The ham should be basted with the fruity glaze every five minutes during the last 15 to 20 minutes of cooking time.
Herb-Roasted Stuffed Turkey Roulade with Apple-Walnut Stuffing and Cranberry Giblet Gravy
(Have the butcher at the grocery store debone your turkey into 2 halves with breast and legs attached, reserving all parts and giblets.)
For the herb rub:
4 teaspoons fresh rosemary leaves, chopped
4 teaspoons fresh thyme, chopped
4 teaspoons sage, chopped
4 teaspoons minced garlic
2 teaspoons garlic
2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/4 cup olive oil
In a blender or food processor, mix rosemary, thyme, sage, garlic, salt, pepper and olive oil. Pulse until well blended
For the roulade: Preheat oven to 350F.
Open each boneless turkey half and place skin side down on a work surface. Season with herb rub. The long side of the turkey meat should be parallel with the edge of the work surface.
Spread 1/2 of the stuffing over each breast. Starting at the long side, roll jelly-roll style. Tie with cord to secure, or place on foil and roll in a cylindrical shape, pressing together at both ends to close.
Place roulades in roasting pans. Place in oven and bake for about 1 1/2 to 2 hours or until a meat thermometer registers 185F.
1/4 cup butter or margarine
1 large onion, chopped
2 cups celery
1 loaf bread, cut into cubes
1 egg, beaten
4 Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored and diced
1 cup walnuts
1 t teaspoon thyme, chopped
1 teaspoon dried sage
1 teaspoon garlic, chopped
Salt and pepper to taste
In a large saucepan over medium-high heat, melt butter or margarine. Add onion, celery, garlic and apples and saute until soft.
Mix in bread crumbs with mixture. Add chicken broth to moisten. Add nuts, salt, pepper, sage and thyme and season to taste. Stir until well blended. Remove from heat and add the egg. Allow stuffing to cool completely then proceed to stuff the turkey.
Cranberry Giblet Gravy
(Makes about 5 cups)
Turkey giblets and neck
1 1/2 quarts water
1 onion, quartered
1 medium carrot, quartered
2 celery stalks with leaves
4 bay leaves
1 cup dried cranberries/Craisins
1 teaspoon salt
Pepper, to taste
6 tablespoons flour
1/2 cup water
For turkey broth: Cover the neck and remaining giblets with water in a pot. Add turkey bones, bay leaves, onion, carrot, salt and pepper. Simmer, covered for 1 hour.
For gravy: Remove turkey to a warm serving platter and place turkey roaster with drippings on stovetop. Add 1 cup of the broth to drippings in turkey roaster. Bring to a boil, stirring well to loosen all brown bits from sides of pan. Add about 2 more cups of the turkey broth, stirring to blend. Reduce heat.
Make slurry mixture from flour and 1/2 cup water until very smooth. Add slowly and whisk into gravy mixture and continue to cook slowly. Add the cranberries, stirring constantly until slightly thickened. Remove giblets and chop. Add to gravy. Adjust seasonings.
Tropical Fruit Glazed Virginia Ham
10-12 pound fully cooked, bone-in Virginia ham
For the glaze:
1/2 cup light brown sugar, firmly packed
2 tablespoons honey
1 can sliced pineapple, drained
1 can pear halves, drained
1 can peach halves, drained
8 to 10 maraschino cherries
1 cup orange juice
2 ounces cornstarch mixture
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
Place ham fat side up on rack in a roasting pan. Bake uncovered, 1 1/2 hours or until internal temperature reaches 140F.
For the glaze: Combine brown sugar, honey, pineapples, peaches, pears and orange juice.
Cover over low heat, stirring occasionally, until sugar is dissolved and mixture comes to a boil. Add the ground cloves, allspice and ginger and thicken with the cornstarch mixture.
Remove skin from ham, then score fat in 1-inch diamonds.
Drain the fruits from the sauce, arrange pineapple slices, pears, peaches and cherries on ham; secure with wooden picks.
Brush the glaze over the ham and bake for an additional 15 minutes. Baste every five minutes with glaze. Reserve the remaining glaze for spooning over the sliced ham.
Tips: Glazing a ham contributes not only to the appearance, but keeps it moist, and also enhances the flavor. The sweet contrast with the salt of the ham combined with the aromatic spices marry well.
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November 30, 2013
ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) --
Jeff Ansorge once commanded a staff of 17 and made around $80,000 a year as executive chef at a posh downtown Minneapolis restaurant where a 24-ounce dry aged Porterhouse steak goes for $48. But he gave it all up to become the head cook of a Salvation Army soup kitchen, where the meals are free. Now he brings his culinary skills to bear making salmon, ribs and stews for the poor and homeless who come to The Salvation Army Eastside Corps Community Center in St. Paul. For the Thanksgiving meal that's being served Wednesday, Ansorge planned a traditional feast of turkey with stuffing, mashed potatoes and gravy, cranberry sauce and rolls, served on tables covered with white tablecloths.
"It is not your old-fashioned soup kitchen where you get a bowl of soup and a piece of bread and (are) sent on your way. He makes phenomenal meals that you would pay quite a bit of money to go to a restaurant and have," Salvation Army Capt. John Joyner said of Ansorge, who left The Capital Grille to run the soup kitchen.
The clients agree. "This is outstanding. On a scale of 1 to 10, I give him an 8-and-a-half, yep," Donnie Richardson, 55, a homeless man from St. Paul, said over a meal of chicken thighs, rice and mixed vegetables in the center's white-walled gymnasium. Ansorge, 40, says a spiritual awakening led him to his new job at the soup kitchen in October 2012, making just onethird of his previous salary. "I went through a divorce. I was suffering from major depression for four years. And my priorities were all wrong,"Ansorge recalled while standing near the center's pantry shelves. "I wanted the highpaying job. I wanted the big house. I wanted the cars. I wanted all that. And ultimately, none of that satisfied me."Ansorge started cooking when he was 16 at a mom-andpop restaurant. He went to school in Rhode Island, earning degrees in culinary arts and food service management before joining The Capital Grille, where he spent 12 years.Now Ansorge is lucky to get as many as three volunteers to help him in the soup kitchen. On a recent Thursday, Ansorge -- a trim man with short gray hair -- set up the tables, seasoned, seared and baked the chicken thighs, dished up meals and wiped down the tables afterward. Instead of a traditional white chef's hat and uniform, he wears a dark blue T-shirt with the words "SHIELD CREW" in white with the red Salvation Army insignia, and blue jeans.
Raised Catholic, Ansorge -- a former altar boy -- said he drifted away from his faith in his 20s and 30s. Despite his prominent position at the restaurant, Ansorge said he was spiraling downward.
"My priorities were backwards. I had a big mortgage, I had car payments, I had credit card debts," Ansorge said. "And now I have none of that."He sent about 10 applications to mainly Christian nonprofits, hoping to make a change. He chose The Salvation Army because "it's a nonprofit that works with people that need help."
Joyner said The Salvation Army initially felt Ansorge was overqualified. But none of the other candidates seemed a good fit.
"His credentials are unbelievable. He could easily be making two, three times what he makes working for us. But he told us that he wanted to give back and he really wanted to do this," Joyner said.
Susan Dunlop, chef and coowner of Joan's In The Park restaurant in St. Paul, worked with Ansorge for nearly three years at The Capital Grille. She says she's not surprised by his decision.
"That's his true passion. He wanted to do something where he was giving back to the community," Dunlop said. "It's who he is. He needs to do that to be happy."
Ansorge didn't just bring cooking skills. Joyner said Ansorge's shopping skills save the organization money.
Ansorge said he looks for bargains on food nearing its expiration date that grocery stores don't want to sell but has been frozen and is salvageable. The Salvation Army also has a partnership with the Second Harvest Heartland food bank that allows it to get 40-pound cases of mixed poultry for $5, he said. Before Ansorge came to the soup kitchen, The Salvation Army spent $28,000 on its lunch program at the East Side center. In Ansorge's first year there, he spent $13,000 on the lunch program. The center serves from 80 to 140 people each day at its Monday through Friday noon meal.
Ansorge also tries to bring nutritional value to whatever meal he serves. For some, it may be their only meal of the day.
He's eliminated desserts and cut back on the fat and sugars in meals.
"I don't want to feed them anything that I wouldn't eat,"he said. "I try to feed them something that I would feed to my own family."
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November 09, 2013
Conch and Kalik have come together and are proving to be a winning combination at one of the island's newest restaurants -- Conch N' Kalik Bar and Grill. It's the place where the mollusk and native beer can be found in almost every offering from the appetizer portion of the menu through to the soups and salads, burgers, sandwiches and wraps, and their specialties. But the chefs hold off on pushing the envelope and adding it into any of their dessert items.
At Conch N' Kalik Bar and Grill located in Pompey Square, downtown, the menu features items that are twists on regular appetizers -- think conch chili fries (ground conch chili, sharp cheddar on seasoned fries), nachos (tri-colored nachos topped with homemade aged cheddar and Kalik beer cheese sauce, diced tomatoes, pickled jalapenos, guacamole and sour cream), firecracker conch spring roll (an oversized handcrafted crispy roll with blackened conch, vegetables, rice noodles and sweet tamarind dipping sauce), conch scampi, conch fettuccinie with garlic bread, conch parmesan with fettucini pasta and garlic bread, island-style coconut curry conch and conch and crab cake.
There are other unique offerings featuring the two ingredients after which the restaurant is named, like the Black Angus Beef Burger (with aged cheddar and Kalik beer cheese sauce, Kalik's double crunch onion ring, pecan smoked bacon, shredded lettuce, heirloom tomatoes on a Brioche bun) and deep water conch salad sandwich (fried conch on whole grain ciabbata bread with sour-orange mayo, shredded lettuce and vegetable salsa).
The menu items were all dreamed up in the mind of Chef Devin Johnson who opened the restaurant, but has now moved on and left it in the capable hands of Chef Eunesha Solomon who now wears the executive sous chef hat. It's a task she's up to. When Chef Devin came on board to open the restaurant, he headhunted Chef Eunesha from their previous place of employment to take over after he moved on.
Before he left, Chef Devin said the 50-item menu took him six weeks to come up with and master. A chef who is big on playing up local ingredients who has served as the national team manager for many years, he said it was a delight to come up with the menu that showcases Bahamian ingredients.
And the portion sizes are huge. He said they had to do it that way to give people their money's worth.
"People eat with their eyes, and people love it," said Chef Devin of the oversized, tasty portions that they have become known for.
They also offer a signature creamy conch and roast corn chowder (chunks of conch meat with fresh roasted corn, root vegetables and a hint of goat pepper), mango barbeque ranch chicken salad (mango, avocado, grape tomatoes, grilled corn, pigeon peas, cucumbers and romaine lettuce tossed with a mango infused barbeque ranch dressing, topped with crispy fried onions that are surprising people that are so good).
And there are also specialty offerings -- the tamarind glazed flat iron steak, mango rum basted pork baby back ribs, lobster fettucine (only served during the season), and Kalik Gold beer battered fish and chips.
And you can't have a restaurant that serves conch without offering Bahamian favorites like like cracked conch and Bahamian style steam conch. There's also a Bahamian style grilled conch, conch salad and the conch salad of the day that is upstaging the traditional salad - the tropical. Conch N' Kalik serves theirs with pineapple, mango and green apple.
According to Chef Solomon, the profile at Conch N' Kalik is all about flavor.
While they're proud of their food, the libations menu at the restaurant isn't to be sneezed at, and they say you have to have their signature drink called a Kalik-arita, where the Kalik of your choice meets a margarita base.
And while they just didn't take a chance on incorporating conch or Kalik into any of their desserts, they do offer tasty endings to satisfy the sweet tooth - guava duff, passion fruit and white chocolate cheesecake, carrot-pineapple cake and a dark rich chocolate cake with a Caribbean twist which means it has a banana-coconut mousse and finished with almonds.
With its first location open, the proprietors of Conch N' Kalik are planning to open another four locations -- one in Abaco, Grand Bahama, Turks and Caicos Islands and Florida.
Conch and Kalik is open daily. They start their beverage service at 10 a.m. Their food service starts at 11 a.m. They close at midnight.
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November 09, 2013
I made an announcement in the office the other day that left many people stunned -- I had just recently visited the Cracker Barrel Old Country Store for the first time ever over the weekend. They simply could not believe it.
Yes, for years I've seen and passed Cracker Barrel Old Country Stores (which opened its first store in 1969 in Lebanon, Tennessee) when visiting the United States, but never stopped. To be honest, there are so many restaurants, and good ones at that to chose from, so I had never darkened their doorstep.
It just so happens that I was on a mission with Bahamasair's manager for international sales, Woodrow 'Woody' Wilson and Star 106.5 FM and Hot 91.7 Programming Manager Tony Williams on a jaunt to West Palm Beach, Florida, and we took a drive down to Miami, and I was hungry. We were talking about where to eat and of course Woody spoke about how Cracker Barrel is a Sunday tradition for his family after church. I told him I'd never been there. The rubber on the tires burned as he pulled into the parking lot.
After the experience I had, I returned home and told my husband that on our next trip, we had to visit Cracker Barrel as they serve breakfast, lunch and dinner.
Woody, Tony and I all opted for breakfast even though we could have gotten away with ordering lunch, considering it was the brunching hour. And being the nut lover that I am, the pecan pancakes called out to me - three buttermilk pancakes loaded with pecans and served with butter and a warm bottle of 100 percent pure natural vsyrup, with a side of turkey sausage.
Woody and Tony went with Momma's Pancake Breakfast - three buttermilk pancakes and two eggs with sausage patties.
When the plate was placed before me I was salivating - the pancakes just looked delicious, and they were chockfull of chunky pecans. I did not have to go searching for morsels. I had been considering ordering extra nuts when I ordered seeing as I love pecans that much, but I didn't have to. I dug in, and I was in heaven. The three pancakes were fluffy, light and delicious, topped with a drizzle of their warmed syrup poured out of individual bottles. They were also too big for me to finish, but goodness knows I extracted as many nuts as I could eat before I had to put down the fork.
In case you were like me and hadn't been to Cracker Barrel before, it's a restaurant you must seek out on your next visit to the United States. They also offer a Wild Maine Blueberry Pancake and French toast.
And if you're a fan of country cooking, you can get it all at Cracker Barrel - meatloaf with mashed potatoes and gravy, chicken fried steak, catfish platter, chicken n' dumplins, fried okra, pinto beans cooked with country ham and served with corn muffins, turnip greens cooked with country ham... and the list just goes on and on. If you're watching your calorie intake, they do offer salads... just sayin'.
While I've only had the pecan pancakes, and haven't tried anything from the lunch and dinner menu, I'm already looking forward to my next visit to the Cracker Barrel Old Country Store for another stab at those pecan pancakes. Maybe I'll even try something from the lunch and dinner menu once I've gotten over my pecan pancake obsession.
Might I add that upon entering the establishment, which means that as you exit, you have to pass through the Old Country Store, which sells everything from apparel and accessories to food and candy, furniture and home items, gifts and gift cards, music, movies and books, toys and games and personal care items. Of course, my eyes were looking left and right, but leave it up to Woody to keep me on track -- we had to get to Miami for an interview.
I've finally joined the Cracker Barrel nation and don't think I'll be leaving any time soon. I can't wait to introduce my husband to their pancakes. He's a buttermilk kind of guy so I know he will enjoy them.
Just for your information, Cracker Barrel is open Sunday through Thursday, 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. and Friday and Saturday, 6 a.m. to 11 p.m. and there is a location in at least 43 continental U.S. states, so you're bound to find one wherever you go.
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October 22, 2013
With The Bahamas currently importing an estimated $1 billion in food annually and plans underway for an agricultural institute to open on the island of Andros next year...
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October 19, 2013
New York City has a zillion charms, but it may not be the ideal place to celebrate Halloween. Here's the problem -- where do you display your jack-o'-lantern if you live in an apartment building with no porch?
Then again, my family and I are New Yorkers, and a little defect like this was not going to keep us from carving scary faces into pumpkins. As a kid, it was the kind of art project I loved, even though -- or because? -- it was so messy. It also was kind of dangerous, given the sharp knives required.
Some years my mom would get ambitious and turn the pumpkin seeds into a snack. It was a lot of work. We had to separate the seeds from the fibrous pulp, wash them thoroughly, then dry them on towels before we roasted them. Drying the seeds was a particular ordeal. They tended to stick to the towels, and those that didn't stick to the towels could end up sticking anywhere, floor to ceiling.
But the finished product was wonderful: nutty, chewy, salty, seasonal. I missed them!
So this year, with Halloween looming, I decided to cast toasted pumpkin seeds as the star of a healthy snack mix. A delight for young or old, it makes a great afterschool treat, or an appetizer at a Halloween party.
And I've managed to eliminate the sticking-to-the-towel problem.
Finding the best way to toast the seeds took several trials. I tried high-heat roasting and low-heat roasting before deciding -- following a tip from a Twitter buddy -- that sauteing them in a skillet on top of the stove produced the most succulent result. The sticking-to-the-towel thing? Just dry the wet seeds in the oven for 10 minutes before toasting them in the skillet. No towels required.
And by the way, pumpkin seeds -- like most seeds -- are very good for us. They're a great source of magnesium and zinc, as well as omega-3 fatty acids. And then there are the economic and ecological bonuses. The seeds are free, a by-product of the pumpkin carving. It's not unlike being able to make a chicken stock out of the bones of a roast chicken.
Speaking of healthfulness, this recipe pairs the pumpkin seeds with a fellow good-foryou all-star -- chickpeas. A staple of soups, stews and salads, chickpeas lately have been popping up as a crispy snack. Who knew they could cross over into potato chip land? And it's easy, too. Just dry them, toss them with a bit of oil (and spices, if you'd like), then bake them in a 400 degrees F oven for 25 to 35 minutes.
I rounded out this snack mix with dried cranberries and nuts. It happens to be cranberry season, but any one of your favorite dried fruits would do, including cherries, apricots and raisins. Nutwise, I'm partial to pistachios but, go with what you like best.
As for the seasoning, extra-virgin olive oil and salt comprise a simple and tasty accent. But depending on the occasion and guests, you could jazz it up, adding curry powder, smoked paprika or dried rosemary.
Healthy Halloween Snack Mix
Start to finish: 1 hour 15 minutes (20 minutes active)
Makes about 3 cups
15-ounce can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
2 teaspoons spice blend, such as curry powder, garam masala, chili powder, divided (optional)
Kosher salt and ground black pepper
1 3/4 cups raw pumpkin seeds, cleaned and drained, but not patted dry
3/4 cup dried cranberries, dried cherries, raisins, or a mix
3/4 cup unsalted raw or roasted pistachios, peanuts, almonds or cashews
Heat the oven to 400 degrees F.
Dry the chickpeas thoroughly by spreading them on a large plate and patting them dry with kitchen towels. Transfer to a bowl, then toss with 1 tablespoon of the oil, 1 teaspoon of the spice blend, if using, and salt and pepper to taste. Once the chickpeas are evenly coated, transfer them to a baking sheet and spread them in a single layer. Bake on oven's middle rack until golden and crispy, 25 to 35 minutes, shaking the tray to toss after the first 15 minutes. Remove the baking sheet from the oven and transfer the chickpeas to a serving bowl. Reduce the oven to 300 degrees F.
Arrange the pumpkin seeds in a single layer on the sheet pan. Bake on the oven's middle rack for 10 minutes.
After the pumpkin seeds have baked, in a large skillet over medium, heat the remaining tablespoon of oil. Reduce the heat to mediumlow, add the pumpkins seeds and cook, stirring, for 7 to 10 minutes. Add the remaining teaspoon of spice blend, if using, and salt and pepper to taste. Continue to cook, stirring, until the pumpkin seeds are golden and crispy, another 3 to 5 minutes.
Transfer the seeds to the serving bowl. Add the cranberries and pistachios and toss well.
Nutrition information per 1/4 cup serving: 305 calories; 180 calories from fat (59 percent of total calories); 20 g fat (3 g saturated; 0 g trans fats); 0 mg cholesterol; 21 g carbohydrate; 4 g fiber; 7 g sugar; 14 g protein; 335 mg sodium.
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