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March 2017 Chef of the Month Megan Corcoran

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Megan is wearing ChefUniforms coat style 86515 in Pebble Grey w/ Black

The countdown to Spring has officially begun and we’re eager to introduce our March Chef of the Month, Megan Corcoran. A lover of fresh food, she has been cooking since high school and college but up until a year ago, she worked in Social Media, Marketing, and Sales. In the last year, Megan started her own website and company, auditioned and appeared on Food Network, and made numerous other television appearances. Her chef career has seriously taken off, read more about her success and life below and stay tuned for her amazing recipes throughout the month!

1. Birthplace:

I was born in Glenmoore, Pennsylvania. It is maybe an hour outside of Philadelphia.

2. Where do you work and where are you based?

I own my own website and soon to be catering company. It is called Fork This Dish. We are based out of Arlington Virginia.

3. What is your favorite kitchen tool in creating your masterpieces/dishes?

I would definitely say my food processor more than anything. You can do anything with it. You can make sauces or purees. It is a great way to make bases for dishes. I used to never use it but slowly I started using it more and more. Now it has become a regular and I use it for everything.

4. What is your sharpest sense out of all the 5 senses?

Sight. I was a dancer my whole life. I don’t know what I’d do without visual keys and I think I have transferred that over to cooking. I see a dish first and then make it. I don’t think my presentation skills are the best they can be. But for me, the presentation of a dish is very important.

5. What advice would you offer for aspiring chefs?

I did cook in a couple restaurants. But I really have no formal training outside of that. I had been thinking about starting this blog and business for years. I told all my friends I wanted to do it. But I never felt ready. Finally, I just did it and it has been an amazing year. I guess I would just say do what you want even if you don’t feel ready. I never learned how to cook on the news but I just went and did it.

6. What is one culinary tip every chef should know and perfect?

I would say cooking eggs. That is a good place to start. It sounds crazy but a lot of people overcook them. Or they don’t know how to make different kinds of eggs like over-easy eggs. Cooking eggs is great practice, you can use different pans techniques. Eggs are a good place to start and a cheap way to mess up. Honestly, I have spent an entire day making eggs and watching Bobby Flay’s YouTube Videos on how to make perfect eggs. Whatever he does, I follow.

7. What does good food mean to you?

Good food to me means fresh. I am very particular with where my food comes from. I think it is important to only buy organic and when I can I try and find it locally. I don’t eat a lot of meat but I do sometimes and I’m to the extent of on Thanksgiving my family and I go to a farm and pick our own turkey. I want to know where my food comes from. I don’t want to buy and eat food with chemicals, we should be more aware of what is in our food. For me buying fresh, organically, and local is good food.

8. What features are important to you when selecting your Chef outfit?

When I cook, I really like being comfortable. I typically wear jeans or khakis. I used hard top shoes and wear a polo type shirt. For my chef coat, I like short sleeves with breathable material so it doesn’t get too hot.

9. Favorite ingredient to work with?

I really like cooking with white wine. I just like putting wine in my food. Plus, I cook a lot of seafood and white wine is the perfect base for seafood.

10. Favorite City to dine out in?

I was dying to leave and my friends will laugh when they read this, but hands down, the best food is in Philadelphia.

11. Best Dish you have ever made?

For my final audition to make it on Food Network, I had to make a dish live. It was extremely nerve-wracking and I was just getting over being sick so I didn’t have time to perfect the dish or practice. But I had an idea and vision and it was the best dish I’ve made. It was a truffle corn puree with scallops and shrimp with a ton of butter, bacon and fresh truffle. It was insane, I wish I wrote down the recipe.

12. Place you eat most often on your days off?

I work from home. So most days I cook for myself. But whenever I am home in Glenmoore. I go to Ron’s School House. It is so good, the food is fresh off the table and they have an extensive menu. They make this fresh pasta but also delicious carrot cheesecake.

13. Person you would most like to cook for?

I have two Food Network heroes. I have cooked for one of them but the other is Scott Conant. I would like to cook for him a lot, I think he is great.

14. What is new on your DVR?

So I pretty much religiously watch Chopped. The other thing I just finished watching was West World. It was so good but I just found out the next season isn’t coming out for another year and a half so I am pretty devastated. I might just re-watch the past season.

Want to see more from our March Chef of the Month? Follow Megan here:

Website: www.forkthisdish.com

Instagram: @forkthisdish

Twitter: @ForkThisDish

 

Chef Alekka’s Ode to the South Pralines

pralinesOur featured recipe of the week is a sweet southern treat. Did you know? Pralines first originated in France and were brought over by French settlers to New Orleans, Louisana. This praline recipe by our Chef of the Month Alekka is a delicious take on the American Southern praline.

Chef Alekka lived in Atlanta, Georgia from 1996-2001 and says,”I was the assistant pastry chef for a restaurant group there. I learned so much during my time there. These classic southern pralines are great crumbled on vanilla ice cream or you can dip half of them in tempered dark chocolate.”

Ode to the South Pralines

~for about 2 dozen

Ingredients:

2 cups light brown sugar
½ cup evaporated milk
¼ cup unsalted butter
2 ½ cups pecans, halves or pieces
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions:

  1. Combine light brown sugar and evaporated milk in a sauce pan, boil, bring to soft ball stage.*
  2. Add butter and pecans, bring back to a soft ball stage while stirring.
  3. Remove from heat, add vanilla and beat until mixture begins to thicken.
  4. Drop by teaspoons on sheet pans lined with silicone mats.
  5. Let set and cool before serving; store in air-tight container.

*Soft Ball Stage for Candy Making using cold water test: 235 F to 240 F (118 C to 120 C)
A small amount of syrup dropped into cold water forms a soft, flexible ball, but flattens like a pancake after a few moments in your hand.

Get in contact with Chef Alekka and visit her shop Give Me Some Sugar if you’re in the Chicago area so you can learn how to make these amazing treats!

Website: Give Me Some Sugar 

Facebook: Give Me Some Sugar

Instagram: @givesugar

Twitter: @ChefAlekka

Chef Alekka’s Chocolate Espresso Brownies

brownies2.jpgThis recipe comes from our February Chef of the Month, Alekka Sweeney. Valentine’s Day is approaching and we all like to take this time to indulge in some dessert. This recipe caters to anyone with a sweet tooth and love for all things chocolate. Take a break from your New Year’s diet and enjoy the finer things in life… and one of those things is sugar!

Chocolate Espresso Brownies

Yields 32 brownies

Ingredients: 

1 1/2 sticks (3/4 cup) unsalted butter

5 oz unsweetened chocolate, coarsely chopped

2 cups sugar

1 tablespoon instant-espresso powder

1 teaspoon vanilla

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

4 large eggs

1 cup all-purpose flour

3/4 cup 64% Chocolate pistols (I prefer Valrhona)

Directions: 

  1. Preheat oven to 375°F. Line a 15- by 10- by 1-inch baking pan with foil, allowing 2 inches of foil to hang over ends of pan, and grease foil well (except overhang) with 1 tablespoon butter.
  2. Melt remaining 11 tablespoons butter with unsweetened chocolate in a large metal bowl set over a pan of barely simmering water, stirring until smooth. Remove bowl from heat and whisk in sugar, espresso powder, vanilla, and salt (mixture will be grainy), then add eggs 1 at a time, whisking after each addition until batter is smooth.
  3. Toss together flour and chocolate pistols in another bowl and add to batter, stirring until just combined.
  4. Spread batter evenly in baking pan and bake in middle of oven until top is firm and edges just begin to pull away from sides of pan, about 20 minutes –be careful not to overbake.
  5. Cool in pan on a rack 5 minutes, then carefully lift brownies from pan by holding both ends of foil and transfer to rack to cool 10 minutes more. Cut into 32 squares and lift brownies off foil with a spatula.

Love this recipe? Get in contact with Chef Alekka and visit her shop Give Me Some Sugar if you’re in the Chicago area so you can learn to bake like a pro!

Website: Give Me Some Sugar 

Facebook: Give Me Some Sugar

Instagram: @givesugar

Twitter: @ChefAlekka

Chef Stefen’s Breakfast Mac n’ Cheese

recipe-2-0For all of the breakfast lovers, this recipe goes out to you. We’re stoked to showcase this recipe from Chef Stefen but we wish we had more! Not to worry, this one will have you drooling and ready for breakfast, brunch, or brinner. Breakfast is the most important meal of the day (both mom and science say). Breakfast and brunch foods have become even more popular and trendy in recent years, this recipe is cutting edge. We hope you enjoy and get ready to salivate!

Breakfast Mac n’ Cheese

For this recipe you will need:

  • 1 large sweet potato, unpeeled and chopped into 1/2 inch pieces
  • 3 jalapeños, diced
  • 2 tablespoons + 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1 box penne rigate
  • 3-4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 3-4 tablespoons flour
  • 1/2 cup yellow onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 bottle golden ale (I prefer Kona Big Wave Golden Ale)
  • 1/2 quart (16 ounces) heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup cheddar cheese, grated
  • 1/2 cup fontina cheese, grated
  • 1/2 cup pepper jack cheese, grated
  • 1/4 cup parmesan cheese, grated
  • 1/2 cup panko breadcrumbs
  • 24 eggs
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

Yield: ~12 servings

Step 1: The Prep (Prep 5 min, Cook 30-40 min)

Preheat oven to 400°F degrees.

Place sweet potato and jalapeño on a sheet tray and toss in 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Bake for 30-40 minutes, or until fork tender. Pull out and set aside for later.

In a large pan bring some salted water to a boil. Add the box of penne rigate and a teaspoon of olive oil. Cook for about 10 minutes or until al dente (you are going to bake this again later in the mac so you don’t want the noodles overcooked). Drain and save for later.

Step 2: Make Your Cheese Sauce (Prep 10 min, Cook 25-30 min)

Heat butter in a large pan. Add the onion and garlic and cook for about 10 minutes until they are a nice golden color. Slowly add in the flour, stirring constantly to create a roux. Cook the roux until it is lightly golden in color, about 10-15 minutes. While whisking vigorously, slowly pour in your bottle of golden ale to create a smooth sauce. Add in the heavy cream and bring the mixture to a simmer. Add a few squirts of your favorite hot sauce (I like Sriracha and/or Tabasco). Add in your cheese, being sure to constantly mix to create a smooth and delicious sauce.

Step 3: Finishing Touches (Prep 5 min, Cook 30-40 min)

Reduce oven temperature to 350°F.

Once your cheese sauce is ready, it’s time to assemble the mac! Combine the noodles, roasted sweet potato and jalapeño mixture, and cheese sauce into a baking dish. Top with the panko breadcrumbs and bake for about 30-40 minutes, or until the top is golden brown and bubbly.

When the mac is almost done, cook your eggs any style of your choosing. I prefer sunny-side up for the presentation and runny yolk.

For presentation. I like to add a pool of Sriracha to the bottom of the plate. Add a slice of the mac, and then top the whole thing with the eggs, some fresh green onion, and thinly sliced fresh jalapeno.

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If you can’t get enough of our January Chef of the Month, Stefen, make sure to keep following him:

Facebook: Big Chef Little Kitchen

Instagram: @bigcheflittlekitchen

Twitter: @BigChefLilKitch

Website: http://www.bigcheflittlekitchen.com/

Chef Stefen got his aprons from CU ChefUniforms.com, make sure to go check out our amazing chef and cooking apparel!

Chef Stefen’s Vegan Walnut-Kale-Basil Pesto

recipe 3.2.jpgFood experts say healthy food will be all the rage and trending throughout 2017. But we are here to show you just because the recipe has kale in it does not mean it isn’t delicious. We’re showcasing our January Chef of the Month Stefen’s second recipe a vegan walnut-kale-basil pesto sauce that pairs well with basically anything! So it is time to put away the bacon and get your kale on.

(Prep 3-5 minute, Cook 3-5 min)

For this recipe you will need:

  • 1 ounce basil leaves
  • 1 ounce kale
  • 1/4 cup walnuts
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 3 garlic cloves, whole
  • 1/4 cup nutritional yeast

Yield: ~ 2 servings

recipe-3-3Directions:

Combine all ingredients except the nutritional yeast into a food processor or blender and pulse a few times until combined.

Add in the nutritional yeast and pulse an additional 4-5 times until all ingredients are mixed to your desired combination.

Mix it with pasta, throw it on your eggs, put it on a cheese board; let your imagination run wild with possibilities. This simple and versatile sauce is sure to please.

Enjoy!

Get in contact with our January Chef of the Month:

Facebook: Big Chef Little Kitchen

Instagram: @bigcheflittlekitchen

Twitter: @BigChefLilKitch

Website: http://www.bigcheflittlekitchen.com/

Chef Stefen’s Beet Sliders Recipe

That’s right, it says beet, not beefbeets2this recipe takes traditional sliders to the next level. Plus it is perfect for all of our vegetarian friends but don’t worry meat-eaters, you’ll forget there is no meat in this dish after you take the first bite! Enjoy our January Chef of the Month, Chef Stefen’s first featured recipe – beet sliders!

Beet Sliders (Prep 45 min – 1 hour, Cook 20-25min)

For this recipe, you will need:

  • 3 beets, peeled and sliced into 1/2 inch rounds
  • 1 tablespoon whole grain mustard
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon pepper
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon onion powder
  • 1 tablespoon crushed red pepper
  • 1 package sliced muenster cheese
  • 1 package King’s Hawaiian Sweet Rolls
  • 2 avocados, sliced
  • 1/2 red onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 green tomatoes, sliced
  • 1-2 cups arugula

Yield: ~12 sliders

Directions:

The first thing for a delicious beet slider is to “make” and marinade the slider “patties.” To make the patties, cut off the top and bottom of the beet. The next step is the big one that makes these sliders unique (be prepared for purple hands). With a firm grip, take the beets and peel the outer skin with a vegetable peeler before slicing. Peeling and slicing prior to grilling is the key to the flavor and texture of these sliders.

Layer the beet slices in an airtight food storage container and add a tablespoon each of mustard, red wine vinegar, olive oil, salt, pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, and crushed red pepper.beets3

Once everything is in the container, close it up, seal it tight, and shake vigorously. The goal here is to create a sort of vinaigrette for the beets to marinate in. Marinate for at least 1 hour.

Once the beets have been marinated, fire up the grill, (you can also bake these in the oven or pan sear them, but I think grilling makes the best slider) and cook like you would a normal burger. Cook 10-15 minutes on each side until marked and the beet is fork tender. Add some of the muenster and melt on top.

If you want to toast your buns, like I do, now is the time to do so.

Spread the mustard on the bun, add the avocado, onion, patty, green tomato, and arugula.

Enjoy!

Get in contact with Chef Stefen:

Facebook: Big Chef Little Kitchen

Instagram: @bigcheflittlekitchen

Twitter: @BigChefLilKitch

Website: http://www.bigcheflittlekitchen.com/

Chef Rod Knight’s Cured Salmon Recipe

1.pngPresenting our final recipe of the year and the last recipe from our December Chef of the Month, Rod Knight. This cured salmon recipe looks delicious and can be a great appetizer or used as a main course!

Before we get right into the recipe, we’d like to give a shoutout to all of the chefs we featured this year. It was a pleasure to get to know and work with all of the 2016 chefs. Not only do these chefs have amazing recipes, they also have passion and great personalities!  Here is a quick recap on our awesome 2016 chefs:

  1. January: Ace Champion
  2. February: Jacoby Ponder
  3. March: Yvonne Anderson-Thomas
  4. April: Sean Thompson
  5. May: Jimmy Rodriguez
  6. June: Brian Mullins
  7. July: Joy Crump
  8. August: Dakota Soifer
  9. September: Ana Birac
  10. October: Anthony Hunt
  11. November: Mikey Termini
  12. December: Rod Knight

Thank you to all of our chefs! Now back to the recipe.

This dish is so incredibly easy to make and packed with flavor you’ll never want to buy store-bought Gravadlax again. Serve it with a bit of horseradish, thinly sliced green onion, tomato, olive oil, and crostini.

What you’ll need:2

Salmon

2 cups kosher salt

2 cups Sugar

1 cup of chopped herbs (Dill, Thyme, and Parsley)

Citrus Zest (Lemon, Lime, and Grapefruit)

Directions:

1. Mix salt and sugar thoroughly and generously line the bottom of the pan.

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2. Finely chop the herbs.

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3. In a bowl, combine citrus zest, herbs, and a few tablespoons of the salt and sugar curing mixture. Mix well.

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4. Place the salmon in the pan skin side down. Apply more of the curing mixture to the flesh of the fish, thoroughly covering all surface area.

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5. Next, add the herb mixture on top of the first layer of cure.

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6. Finally, add the remaining cure on top of the herbs. Be very generous with this layer and firmly pack it down. Refrigerate for 24 hours.

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7. Rinse with cold water, slice, and serve!

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We hope you have enjoyed this recipe and all of us at CU (ChefUniforms) look forward to another adventurous year. We hope you all have a prosperous and healthy New Year!

Chef Rod Knight’s Easy Croque Monsieur Recipe

1I don’t think you all are ready for this recipe! As the holidays approach, sometimes we just need a quick and delicious meal, Chef of the Month Rod Knight shares us with his amazing Croque Monsieur recipe.

This quick and easy Croque Monsieur sans béchamel is guaranteed to satisfy the snack attack. It is a classic French sandwich that translates literally into “Crispy Mister,” due to the Gratin on the finish. We [Chef Rod and his team] actually “discovered” this method on accident – one shift during service we ran out of béchamel and had to fulfill the order, and this was a happy accident, as they say, necessity is the mother of ingenuity.

What you’ll need:2

1/2 lbs of baby swiss cheese

1/2 lbs of good quality ham

1/4 cup of heavy cream

6 slices of Harty Sliced Bread

Salt/pepper

Ground nutmeg

Directions:

1. Grate Cheese

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2. In a mixing bowl, combine salt and pepper, ground nutmeg to taste, heavy cream, and cheese. Mix well.

3. On a greased cookie sheet, place 3 slices of bread, apply the cheese mixture to the slices and spread evenly across the whole slice.

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4. Then layer the ham.

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5. Repeat the same process for the top layer and place cheese side down on the sandwich.

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6. Then next step is to add another layer of cheese to the top of the sandwich.

7. Bake on middle rack for about 10 minutes at 350 degrees.

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8. Transfer to the top rack and broil until they are golden.

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The final product:

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We hope you enjoyed this week’s delicious recipe from Chef Rod. Stay tuned for our Chef of the Month Rod Knight’s final recipe next week, it is a recipe that will satisfy all fish lovers’ cravings.

Chef Rod Knight’s Confit de Thon (Tuna Confit) Recipe

tuna1This week’s recipe comes from our December Chef of the Month: Chef Rod Knight! These extremely fresh ingredients and step-by-step directions will make anyone hungry!

Ever wonder how canned tuna is made? Well, here you go… There’s no salt in this recipe, that’s because salting the fish during the confit process will yield a different texture.

 

What you’ll need:

¼ – ½ lbs. filet of tunatuna2

3 or 4 sprigs of thyme

Garlic

Shallots

Whole black peppercorn

Green onion

Olive oil

 

Directions:

1. Cut tuna into smaller more workable chunks that will fit into a large skillet.

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2. Trim green onions, quarter shallots, slice garlic cloves in half to expose surface area and aid in flavor extraction.

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3. Add ingredients to a skillet large enough to fit all ingredients. Heat on medium until you start to see rapid bubbles.

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4. Turn down the heat to low add tuna.

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5. Baste the tuna with the oil as its cooking. It’s important to note here that you can cook the tuna to your preference – med rare, med, well, that’s completely up to you.

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6. Once the tuna is done to your likeness transfer to a container as it must be stored 24 hours before use. Cover making sure the plastic wrap if flush with the oil and fish, refrigerate overnight.

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We hope you enjoyed the first recipe from Chef Rod Knight, check back next week for another recipe from our Chef of the Month. Share this fresh dish with your friends and family at your holiday potlucks or parties!

Chef Mikey Termini’s Veggie Burger Recipe

Another week of great recipes from our November Chef of the Month – Mikey Termini! For vegetarians and meat eaters alike – this veggie burger will not disappoint. Great with a side of waffle fries, hand cut, or cole slaw. veggEnjoy!

Ingredients: 

7 oz. (200g) Veggie Patty

1 Brioche Bun

20g Cashew Sour Cream

42g Sliced Roma Tomato

42g Avocado, Sliced

28 Cucumber, Shaved

1 Serving Handcut Fries

 

Veggie Burger Patty: 

3.15 kg black beans cooked

300g red quinoa

150g PB&G bourbon caramelized onions

250g PB&G magic mushrooms

60g old bay

15g cumin

700g water

400g grilled corn

40g kosher salt

700g panko

15g parsley

15g cilantro

Directions: Combine all ingredients in a mixing bowl and put in Robo-Coupe until well incorporated.

 

PB&G Bourbon Caramelized Onions:

650g onions

50ml bourbon

40g brown sugar

 

PB&G Magic Mushrooms:

850g button mushrooms

130g soy sauce

60g sherry vinegar

 

PB&G Cashew Sour Cream: 

300g raw cashews

150g apple cider vinegar

150g water

Stay tuned next week for our Chef of the Month, Mikey Termini’s last recipe it is one you do not want to miss!

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