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December 2016 Chef of the Month Rod Knight

chef-rod-jump-with-hat2Can you believe 2016 is coming to a close already? We are extremely excited to showcase our last Chef of the Month for the year: Chef Rod Knight!

We guarantee this is one Chef of the Month you don’t want to miss! Chef Rod went above and beyond and his step-by-step recipes are incredible. Read more about his life and chef career below and make sure to check back next week for his first recipe!

1. Birthplace: Danbury, Connecticut

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

I work at a French brasserie called Thursdays on Las Olas Boulevard in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

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

My favorite kitchen tool is the vacuum chamber machine. It allows me to literally marinate or pickle something within seconds. It significantly cuts down a lot of time and the amount of waste. Plus, once you vacuum an item it increases the shelf life exponentially.

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

Interesting, I think that my sense of touch is my sharpest sense. I have never cut myself more than a nick and I think that has to do with my sense of touch.

5. What advice would you offer for aspiring chefs?

I would say stay curious and focus intently on the details. Good dishes are a combination of very small parts that are put together well. Make sure you are aware of how you communicate. How you communicate is a very important part of being a chef because how you speak and what you say translates to everyone you work with and it will literally better the team.

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

Keep your pans hot. You aren’t going to get far without hot pans.

7. What does good food mean to you?

Good food to me is something that is exciting to share with others. It also takes into account health and nutrition. I believe you can’t untwine the two. What we are eating and how we are eating but it has to be good for you. Also, good food is fresh with fresh ingredients. I guess to sum it up good food is passion on a plate.

8. What trends do you see emerging in the near future?

There’s been a lot of talk about no tipping. All of the servers’ wages and all of the food prices would get raised to cover the no tipping paradigm. Personally, I think if companies do raise the minimum wage, they will expect more from the employees.

I see a lot more with digital cloud services for cooks training and communication. I think we are going to see a breakdown of titles and positions and see more of the cooks and prep cooks taking on more responsibility which would allow the chefs on duty to administer more effectively. With everything online we are learning faster and quicker and the guys on my team who are in school ask me questions that stump me all the time. On a broader level, this will lead to a lot more creativity to make the things.

9. What features are important to you when selecting a Chef Coat? (particular fabric, style, sleeve length, pockets)

I definitely go with a short sleeve. I like to go with styles that breathe easy. I do like a more traditional style but with a modern fresh approach. I am slim, so I prefer a slimmer fit. I don’t like button ups. The coats I have now have material like Nike dry fit that wicks away moisture and are light weight.

10. What is your go-to chef outfit? Do you prefer coats, tees, pants, shorts, aprons, hats, etc?

For my go-to workwear, I usually wear a cargo style black pant. I typically wear one of my white chef coats. Sometimes I will wear a cap but I always wear crocs.

11. Favorite ingredient to work with?

This is hard, my favorite ingredient I like to work with is Dijon mustard.  I specifically like to pair it with maple, mustard, and Cajun to make a really good marinade that is a little spicy. For a quick fix, I like to have pan seared salmon and splatter mustard on there and bread crumbs. Or red wine vinaigrette adding Dijon. I find it to be a very versatile condiment. But of course, you can’t live without eggs.

12. Best Dish you have ever made?

Okay, so this is fun. I came across this recipe maybe a year ago. I came across a website that had Berbere, an Ethiopian spice. Last year I really got into spices. This one is really cool, so I tried it out. It is smoky, spicy and red in color. It is extensive work to toast it and to process it. It has a very eastern flavor, I guess they have been using it for centuries. So I went to the fish market and got Bronzino. I was having some people over for dinner so I did a dry rub and got a really nice roast on the fish, it was almost magical. I served it with lemon roasted tomatoes. It was very exotic, with Chile peppers, garlic, ginger, basil, and a little bit of nutmeg.

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

There is a sushi place in Pompano Beach. It is called 9 Face Sushi and they knock it out of the ballpark. Always fresh, the service is amazing. I like to sit outside and enjoy the view.

14. Person you would most like to cook for?

You know what, I’d like to cook for Stan Lee.

15. What made you decide to become a chef?

I am an only child. My mom is a chemical engineer. I would get out of school and go home. I would watch 3 shows on Food Network. These shows got me into and gave me permission to get my hands dirty. I would have food made, I can’t imagine it was good at the time. So I started doing things in elementary school.

But I applied and got into a Connecticut vocational technical school in the culinary department when I was in high school. I started learning techniques. My junior year, Johnson and Wales got accreditation and I got an associate’s degree in culinary. It took burning a lot of things and figuring out where I went wrong and teaching it to the next person. To sum it up, I became a chef because of curiosity and a lot of it has to do with the fact that I am creative. Being a chef, I found a happy place to be and express my creativity every day.

16. What is new on your DVR?

On my DVR is Preacher, The Walking Dead, and The Flash. Those are my top three shows that I make time to watch.

Once again thank you to Chef Rod Knight and don’t forget to stay tuned for his recipes that will be featured throughout the month.

 

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!

Chef Anthony’s Tomato Recipe

Our final recipe from our October Chef of the Month, Anthony Hunt is his tomato recipe. This recipe can be used for party appetizers but it is also very versatile.  Enjoy!

tomatoes with dish.jpg

Confi of garlic and tomato spread

Ingredients:

16 ounces cherry tomatoes
15 cloves of garlic or less.
Bay leaves 3 whole dry or fresh
6 leaves of Basil fresh

Directions:

Submerge ingredients in olive oil
Bake with aluminum foil for one and a half hours.
Allow time to cool.

Remove ingredients from oil. Rooftop ingredients to drain off excess liquid. Add salt, pepper, and olive oil finish with chopped fresh basil.

Best served on sliced toasted baguette. As a final finish, add a sliver of fresh parmesan.

A big thank you to Chef Anthony for providing these awesome recipes and being our October Chef of the Month!

Chef Ana Birac’s Cucumber Roll Recipe

Another delicious recipe coming from our Croatian September Chef of the Month Ana Birac. She wows us again with her mouth-watering Cucumber Roll.

cucumber-roll-image

Ingredients:

Cucumber – Crème fraîche – Horseradish Roll – Carrot Cream – Baked Marinated Red Beetroot – Apple Caramelized in Coconut Butter – Pistachio Powder

 

For 2 people:

0.1kg cucumber ~ 3.5 ounces

0.005kg Crème fraîche ~ 17 ounces

0.005kg fresh horseradish (grated) ~ 17 ounces

0.1kg carrot ~ 3.5 ounces

0.05kg whipped cream ~ 1.7 ounces

0.1kg red beetroot ~ 3.5 ounces

0.005kg honey ~ 17 ounces

0.005kg lime ~ 17 ounces

0.001kg thyme ~ 1 teaspoon

0.1kg Granny Smith apple ~ 3.5 ounces

0.005kg coconut butter ~ 17 ounces

0.002kg pistachio powder ~ a dash

Olive oil – as needed

Salt, pepper – as need

Directions:

Peal the cucumber into big noodles. Put them on a board slice next to the slice and spice with salt and pepper. Then cover them with plastic foil and put in the fridge and marinate for 15 minutes.

Cut red beetroot brunoise (into cubes). Blanch it in water until it softens, and then grill it. Marinate it with honey, lime juice, olive oil, salt, pepper and thyme.

Cut Granny Smith apple brunoise (same size as beetroot into cubes). Dissolve coconut butter in a pan and bake the apple for a minute or two until it softens.

Peel the carrots and cook in vegetable stock until they are fully cooked. After, put them in thermomixer, add the whipped cream and ¾ of pistachio powder. Mix it all together until you get a smooth cream. Season it with salt and pepper and then put it in the fridge to cool down.

Once again use the thermomixer – mix crème fraîche, grated horseradish, salt and pepper. When you get a texture like spread, you’re done.

Take the cucumbers out of the fridge. Spread crème fraîche and horseradish cream over it and roll them up.

Put the product on the plate and finish with the rest of the pistachio powder sprinkled around the plate.

*Note because Chef Ana is from Croatia, she uses metric system measurements (along with the rest of the world). Once again, we have done our best to convert the measurements to the U.S. customary system. 

 

Chef Ana Birac’s Chickpea Butter Recipe

Our September Chef of the Month, Ana Birac sends us her Chickpea Butter recipe all the way from Croatia.

chickpea-butter-image

CHICKPEAS BUTTER

For 2 people:

0.25kg* chickpeas ~ 1 cup

1L cooking cream ~ 4 ¼ cups

0.5kg sour cream ~ 2 cups

salt, pepper – according to your taste

 

Cook chickpeas in cooking cream until it becomes soft and tender. Watch out, the temperature of cooking cream cannot pass 83 degrees Celsius or 180 degrees Fahrenheit! When the chickpeas are cooked, leave it aside to cool down. After one hour it will be ready for the next step. Take the thermomixer and put it inside. Mix it until you get smooth paste. Pass it through a sieve and leave it in clean bowl.

Put the sour cream in the blender and whip it until it becomes a mixture very similar to ordinary butter. Add chickpeas, salt and pepper to your taste. Mix it until you get a mixture just like butter – nice and tender.

Put it in the fridge and leave over night to cool down.

You can use it as a spread on the bread, to spice the dishes or to cook on it.

 

Bon appétit!

*Note because Chef Ana is from Croatia, she uses metric system measurements (along with the rest of the world). We have done our best to convert the measurements to the U.S. customary system. 

 

Chef Dakota Soifer’s Harissa Recipe

Our Chef of the Month Dakota Soifer has shared another great recipe with us! You can use his Harissa as a great grilling marinade, add it to yogurt or aioli for a great dipping sauce, or even use it on its own as a vibrant condiment.

Ingredients:

meat

2 C Seeded & roughly chopped fresh fresno chilies

6 Cloves garlic

2t Tomato paste

1/2 C Pequillo peppers

1T Cumin

1T Coriander

1T Black cumin

2t Hot smoked paprika

1t Salt

2T Olive oil

Directions:

Toast the spices until fragrant and grind finely.  Put the chilies, garlic, salt and half the spices into a food processor. Let the processor run for a few minutes stopping it every now and then to scrape the sides down. You are trying to achieve a very smooth, almost liquid-y consistency. This will probably take longer than expected, be patient.  A well pureed base will ensure a successful Harissa.  Once pureed, add in the tomato paste & peppers along with the rest of spices.  Stir in the olive oil by hand, you don’t want an emulsion.  This will keep for a few weeks in the fridge, just pour a very thin layer of oil on the top to protect from oxidization, between uses.

Enjoy!

Chef Dakota Soifer’s Oyster Mushrooms with Sherry Recipe

oyster mushrooms image

Oyster mushrooms with Sherry.

At the cafe we love sherries and were always looking for a way to get people to drink more of it.  This dish, while great on its own, is a great showcase of how fun pairing sherry with food is.  We encourage you to check it out.

Ingredients:

½ lb oyster mushrooms

2T Olive oil

6 cloves garlic, thinly sliced

1T (heaping) picked fresh thyme leaves

Salt

Black pepper

1/4c mushroom or vegetable stock

1T butter

1T fine sherry

Great EVOO

Directions:

Trim the woody root off the oyster mushrooms, saving them for mushroom stock.

In a thick bottomed pan with enough space to accommodate all of the mushrooms in a single layer, heat the 2T of olive oil over a high heat.  It is really important that the mushrooms aren’t overcrowded when they cook or the will steam rather than sear, muting the flavors & mushing the texture.

When the oil is simmering and almost smoking, dump the mushrooms in.  Don’t stir them right away let them sit & cook nicely for a moment.  Just stir once in a while. Think of it more as searing little steaks than stirring vegetables up in a pan.  Using this technique will help you take advantage of the mushroom’s unique texture and give the dish more character.

After 3 to 4 minutes and the mushrooms are browning nicely, stir in the butter, garlic and Thyme.  Once the garlic turns golden and the Thyme has become very aromatic, stir in the stock and season with salt and freshly cracked pepper.  After the stock reduces and become a thick flavorful sauce, add in a nice splash of the sherry, careful not to flame it, return to the heat for a few more seconds and you’re done!

Serve over soft polenta, or on grilled bread rubbed with garlic and drizzled with some great extra virgin olive oil.

Enjoy!

Chef Dakota Soifer’s Preserved Lemons

Preserved Lemons – Just what your pantry needs!

lemons


Chef Dakota Soifer has shared with us some of his favorite recipes.  See what special ingredient he always has on hand at his restaurant, Cafe Aion!

We love preserved lemons at Cafe Aion.  It is one of the most important ingredients that help make our identity.  The only tricky thing about them is that they take a long time (4-60 days) to properly cure. We usually make a 20lb batches every couple weeks!  For (most) home use a small amount will go a long way and if you get into the habit of making a batch every month or so, you won’t run the risk of being out.

You’ll need:

4 lemons

3/4c sugar

1 1/2c salt

1T coriander seeds

1 cinnamon stick

3 chili de arbol

1 Qt Ball jar

Directions:

Mix all the salt, sugar and spices together.  Cut the lemons almost into quarters, top to bottom, so that the four pieces are just connected at the tip.  Stuff each lemon with a big pinch of the salt mix and then put into the clean jar. After jamming all the lemons into the container pour any extra salt & seasonings in as well.  Then, with your hand or a wooden spoon press the lemons to begin releasing some of their juice.  Screw the top on and keep in a cool dark place for 2 months, turning the jar over every week or so.  Eventually the salt will pull out more and more of the lemon’s natural juices turning the packed salt into an intense brine, softening the lemons’ skins & introducing some of the spice’s flavors.  After 2 months, or as long as you can wait, take a lemon out, rinse it under cold water & discard the pulp.  Pull one of the quarters off and lay it skin side down.  With a sharp paring knife slice away as much of the white pith as you can.  The yellow peel is the good stuff, use it as bigger pieces in braises and roasts or chop it finely and sprinkle into grain-salads or atop a paella!

Enjoy!

Ms.Cheezious Milkshakes!

Fire up the BBQ and get out the ice cream for this Fourth of July! There is nothing better than a creamy, cold milkshake on a hot summer day. We hope you celebrate your holiday in the sun with fun, friends, and food, of course! Chef Brian Mullins of Ms. Cheezious has come up with two unique shakes that you wont be able to resist!

First up is the Midnight Snack Shake.

Midnight Snack Coral Gables

Look no further for you sweet and savory needs than this outrageous shake! Your taste buds will be in heaven with a chocolate shake topped with chocolate covered potato chips, caramel corn, a peanut-dipped, chocolate covered pretzel and finally some whipped cream and chocolate sprinkles.

For all of you with a need for sweet, check out the new Pastelito Shake.

Pastelito Shake

This new Miami-inspired concoction is a vanilla and guava shake garnished with a fresh guava filled pastelito on top of a mountain on whipped cream!

Don’t miss out on these delicious milkshakes and more from Ms.Cheezious!

Happy Fourth of July and happy eating!

MS. CHEEZIOUS BBQ PULLED PORK GRILLED CHEESE RECIPE

Kick off the summer with this outrageous BBQ Pulled Pork Grilled Cheese recipe. Chef Brian Mullins does not disappoint with this tasty treat!

BBQ Pulled Pork

BBQ Pulled Pork Grilled Cheese

(Adapted for pressure cooker)

Ingredients:

3 – 4 lbs pork butt (cut into chunks)
1 Medium yellow onion, diced
10 cloves garlic, crushed
Kosher Salt
Your favorite barbecue sauce
1 16 oz beer, your choice
4 slices Texas Toast or other thick cut bread

8 slices Cheddar cheese

Salted butter, softened

Directions:

Start by salting the pork once you’ve cut it into pieces.

Place the pork into slow cooker.  Add the diced onion and crushed garlic.  Mix all the ingredients around and cover with beer.  Close cooker and cook for 4-6 hours.

When the time is up open the lid and remove the meat setting it aside. It will be very fragile, so be careful when you try to move it. Cover with tin foil and let it cool for a little while to lock in the juices. Then, using two forks, shred the meat.

Add back some of the sauce and juices from the pot to the pulled pork.  Salt to taste.  Add some of your favorite BBQ sauce.

Butter the outside of each slice of bread. Place 2 cheddar slices on each piece of bread.  On two slices add big scoop of BBQ pulled pork the top with 2 other slices of bread  Place on the griddle or pan; cover with a metal bowl and let the sandwiches get a nice golden brown, wait 2 to 3 minutes. Flip, cover again and cook until the cheese is melted and the sandwiches are golden brown, 2 to 3 minutes. Serve immediately.

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