Tag Archives: healthy food

Chef Megan’s Spicy Gorgonzola Sweet Mashed Potatoes

Spicy MashSweet potatoes were arguably one of the trendiest foods in 2016. We saw sweet potatoes on toast, as bread substitutes, puddings, and pies. But March Chef of the Month, Megan puts an amazing spin on the trendy potato. Warning – recipe below will induce hunger.

 

Spicy Gorgonzola Sweet Mashed Potatoes

Serves:  4-6

Difficulty Level:  Easy

Prep Time: 10 Minutes

Cooking Time:  Approximately 30 Minutes

Ingredients:

  • 4 Large Yams or a bag of small Organic Sweet Potatoes
  • 5oz of a smoky blue or Gorgonzola cheese (For those feeling adventurous, go with something extra smelly. For a family or for a dinner party, go with something mild to medium)
  • Sea Salt to taste
  • Cayenne Pepper (If you love heat as much as I do, sub the Cayenne Pepper for something spicier – I used Trader Joes Ghost Chile Pepper).
  • Black Pepper to taste
  • 1/3 cup of cream (I use a heavy whipping cream, but you could also use whole milk if you are looking to make it healthier)
  • ½ stick of unsalted butter – room temperature

You will need:

  • Food Processor
  • Large Pot filled half way with water
  • Knife

Directions:

  • Place a medium to large pot on your stove top, fill half way with water (enough to cover all the potatoes), add 1 teaspoon of salt, and turn on high to bring to a boil.
  • While the water is heating up, scrub the potatoes and peel off skin. Cut the sweet potatoes into small to medium even sized pieces.
  • Once water is boiling, add potatoes.
  • Cook for 10-15 minutes. Cooking time will vary depending on the size of your potatoes.   Rule of thumb:  when you can use a fork and easily break a potato in half, they’re ready
  • Place all ingredients and the cooked sweet potatoes into the food processor and blend until smooth.
  • Pro Tip: Add salt/pepper/spice to taste – start slow and work your way up to the level you want. You can always add more, but if you make it too spicy right way you won’t be able to tone the heat down.

Serving Suggestions:

  • Top with roasted veggies for a hearty and filling Vegetarian Meal.
  • Serve alone as a side dish at your next dinner party.
  • Top with Scallops & Filet Mignon (pictured) for a romantic dinner or splurge meal.

Follow Chef Megan for more recipes:

Website: www.forkthisdish.com

Instagram: @forkthisdish

Twitter: @ForkThisDish

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 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!

An Interview with Holger Strütt, Executive Chef, Chops Lobster Bar, Boca Raton, FL

Recipe Below: Filet Au Poivre 8 Servings

Presented by: Chefuniforms.com

Chef Holger Strütt’s career spans three continents and many countries, all bringing him to a high level of culinary excellence, applied at Chops Lobster Bar in Boca Raton, Florida. In his native Germany, he made his first strides to a career in the kitchen at the young age of 15, when he decided to pursue vocational training in the culinary arts. His impressive resume includes positions in Germany, Italy and Switzerland, where he perfected the finer points of regional European cuisine. Chef Holger believes in perseverance, consistency, attention to detail and leadership by example. He thrives on the pressure of a busy kitchen and he knows that working at the helm of Chops Lobster Bar’s kitchen is always an exhilarating experience. He has an intense hands-on approach to managing his kitchen and enjoys working with the talented chefs of south Florida. I had a chance to catch up with Holger to ask him about his experiences as an Executive Chef and wanted to share this with you. I invite your comments.

Why did you want to become a chef? My sister worked in a restaurant and introduced me to the business. I was 15 when I had to decide what I wanted to do in life.

What education would you recommend for aspiring chefs? Definitely go to Culinary School and after that go and spend some time in Europe, Germany, France, Switzerland or Austria to learn the basics and the European way of cooking.

What do you recommend for on job training? Don’t be shy of spending 12 hours a day in the kitchen and work closely with the chefs. Get as much input as you can while you’re in the beginning stages of your culinary career.

What is your greatest challenge in getting the ingredients you need? I am very fortunate to work with the best purveyors in the country. Sometimes it takes a little longer for products to get to Florida.

Has the price of energy affected your industry? Absolutely. You have to be very cautious with when you turn your equipment on and off. Power and water are not cheap.

I know that previously you were a chef in Northeast and now you are in South Florida, are their differences in dining trends including types of food? Of course. In New York you find every kind of cuisine and the quality is very high. It is very difficult to find some ethnic foods here in south Florida.

Do you see any dining trends surfacing for the future? I believe that Classic dishes are going to come back very strong. Traditional food like Crab Cakes, Beef Wellington and Dover Sole always are favorites and that will not change.

How much of the recipes are Chops corporate and how much is your own? Many of the signature dishes are from the restaurants in Atlanta. I also developed many recipes with the owner and his son. I also do a lot of specials. When the specials become popular and the owner likes it then we might put them on the menu.

What fabric and style of uniform do you enjoy wearing most? I prefer Egyptian cotton and recently started to like short sleeve jackets.

What is your method of developing your sous chefs? I like for them to spend as much time with me as possible and pay attention to what I do during the day. You learn a lot by listening and observing and by being in the kitchen, not at home. We have a job that demands a lot of time being at the restaurant. But if you work hard, the profession of a chef can be a lot of fun and very rewarding in many different ways.

Do you try to create a team spirit and environment with the kitchen staff? If so how do you accomplish it? You have many different characters in the kitchen and most of them need a different management style. We spend a lot of time together in the kitchen, so it is important to have fun, but never forget why we are here. We have to produce quality food and make sure that our guests leave happy. I have a young team and I believe in teamwork. Teamwork is the key for a good spirit in the kitchen.

When preparing your menu do you consider health and try to prepare foods that are healthier? You always have to have both; Healthy food and then hearty food which is not so healthy. In Chops Lobster Bar, I have many health oriented people that like light food, so some of my fish dishes are very healthy in comparison to my meat dishes that are mostly steaks or braised meats.

Do you notice any resistance to unhealthy dishes? Yes. Many of our guests don’t like too much butter or any kind of fat.

Do you enjoy dining out in your free time? Yes I do. I like to try new restaurants. There are also some restaurants where I like to go on a regular basis.

Do you try to experience the food at your competitors? Do you ever get ideas from competitors? Not really. I like to cook food that I like and my guests like to eat. I go to the competitors for dinner, but don’t steal recipes. Although, you might get ideas you can work with.

Do you think it is important to visit the markets rather than just have standard orders? I am sure if you go to the market you see things that you would like to cook rather than just ordering the food. Not too many chefs’ though have the luxury of time to drive to the fish or produce market every day. My purveyors have such a large variety of things that I don’t really need to go to the market.

How do you test a new recipe without putting it on the permanent menu? I try it as a special for a couple of weeks and then take it off. If people keep asking for it I will bring it back and after discussing it with the owner it may appear on the menu.

Do you pick the wines or is there a separate beverage manager? We have a Beverage Manager, although I love good wines.

If so does he try to pick wines that work well with the type of food that chops is known for? Yes, he tries to pick wines that work well with Steaks and Seafood.

What is your advice for planning a menu for a new restaurant? You have to consider what the majority of people want to eat. It can be different from State to State and City to City. Make sure that the food is tasty and not too wild. Don’t go crazy putting too many ingredients on the plate. Keep it simple!

As a special surprise, Chef Holger offered up one of his recipes that will be sure to make your mouth water and your taste buds tingle. Let me know how it comes out.

Filet Au Poivre 8 Servings

  • 8 each Filet Mignon (8 ounces each)
  • 4 tablespoons ounces vegetable oil
  • Salt
  • 1 cup cracked peppercorns (black, white and green)
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 cups sliced Portobello mushrooms (see recipe)
  • 2 tablespoons shallots, finely diced
  • 2 tablespoons chives finely cut
  • 8 port wine shallots (see recipe)
  • 2 cups peppercorn sauce (see recipe)
  • 3 tablespoons green peppercorns (canned)
  • I cup port wine glaze (see recipe)
  • Brush the steaks with the vegetable oil and season both sides with the salt. Crust the filets with the cracked peppercorns on one side. Heat up 2 tablespoons of the vegetable oil in a sauté pan and sear the steaks on both sides. Place the steaks on a baking pan and put them in a pre- heated oven at 400 degrees for 10 minutes (medium rare).
  • Place the butter in a pan with the Portobello mushrooms. Garnish with the shallots and chives.
  • Pour 2 ounces of peppercorn sauce in the middle of a plate and place the filet mignon in the middle of the plate. Place the Portobello mushroom on top of the filet and a port wine shallot on top of the mushrooms. Poor one tablespoon on port wine glaze over the shallot.
  • Garnish the sauce with the canned green peppercorns and the port wine shallot with some chives.

 

 

Recipe for Portobello Mushrooms:

  • 1 pound Portobello mushrooms (stems removed)
  • 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
  • ¼ cup garlic cloves, halved
  • Drizzle half of the oil in a sauté pan and place the Portobello mushroom topside down. Garnish with the thyme and garlic. Drizzle the other half of the oil on the Portobello mushrooms and place in a pre-heated 400 degrees oven for about 8 minutes or until tender.

 

Recipe for Port Wine Shallots:

  • 2 cups port wine
  • 2 cups red wine
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 8 shallots, peeled, whole
  • Poor the wines and the sugar in a narrow sauce pot and reduce half way. Add the shallots and cook for 15 minutes or until tender.

 

Recipe for Peppercorn Sauce:

First Stage:

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 ounces mushrooms, sliced
  • 5 each shallots, sliced
  • 8 each garlic cloves, cut in half
  • 3 twigs fresh thyme
  • 1 each bay leaf
  • 1 tablespoon whole white peppercorns
  • 1 tablespoon black peppercorns
  • 1 tablespoon green peppercorns, dry
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt

Second Stage:

  • 1 cup brandy
  • 1 tablespoon whole white peppercorns, freshly ground
  • 1 tablespoon whole black peppercorns, freshly ground
  • 1tablespoon whole green peppercorns, dry, freshly ground
  • 2 quarts veal stock, (available in any supermarket)
  • 1quarts heavy cream
  • Pour the oil into a sauce pot and bring to the first smoke point.
  • Add the mushrooms, shallots, garlic, thyme, bay leave and whole peppercorns and cook until slightly caramelized.
  • Season with the salt.
  • Deglaze with the brandy and reduce until dry.
  • Add the ground peppercorns and veal stock and reduce.
  • Reduce the sauce to a glaze.
  • Whisk in the heavy cream, bring to a boil, adjust the salt if necessary and strain through a fine strainer.

 

Recipe for Port Wine Glaze:

  • 1 cup port wine
  • 1 cup red wine
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 pound butter, room temperature, diced
  • Pour the wines and sugar in a narrow sauce pot and reduce at medium heat down to a quarter cup. Then pull the pot away from the heat to the edge of the stove. Whisk in the butter cubes in small amount until emulsified. Do not boil the sauce.

Bon Appetite!!

Visit Chops Lobster Bar Website for Dining Locations in Atlanta and Boca Raton
http://www.chopslobsterbar.com/

For reservations in Boca Raton, Fl, please call: 561-395-2675

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