Cooking and Chef Recipes

Grapefruit Basil Twist From Carmel Cafe


This tasty cocktail is featured at Carmel Cafe and Wine Bar in Winter Park.

Grapefruit Basil Twist

Carmel cocktail1 1⁄2 oz Hendricks Gin
4 slices fresh peeled grapefruit (reserve 2 for garnish) 2 fresh basil leaf (reserve 1 for garnish)
1 slice of lemon
1⁄4 oz sour mix
1⁄4 oz simple syrup

Procedure:

  •   Muddle grapefruit, basil, lemon and simple syrup in the bottom of a mixing glass or shaker

  •   Add sour mix

  •   Shake until very cold & double strain into a cocktail glass over fresh ice

  •   Garnish with 2 small grapefruit wedges and a basil leaf 

Marcy Singhaus Bakes a Cake

Miss_SammyI went to see Miss Sammy Bakes a Cake at Orlando International Fringe Theatre Festival last night thinking I would get a few culinary tips from the master, um, I mean mistress. Trust me, you don’t want to taste the cake Miss Sammy bakes in the show! But it’s deliciously entertaining nonetheless. Miss Sammy is visited by a coterie of guests, who all add a little to the batter -- and a lot to the overall enjoyment. You’ll especially love Judy Garland (who I could swear I’ve seen hanging around some of the food trucks in the area).

You have two more chances to see it: today (Wed. 5/25) and Saturday (5/28). Here's a link to the show's listing at Orlando Fringe. The flog is pleased to have Miss Sammy Bakes a Cake presented by Kangagirl Productions as a sponsor this week.

Although Miss Sammy’s cake is largely inedible, here’s a recipe courtesy of Marcy Singhaus, who happens to be a neighbor of mine, and whose birthday is today. Happy birthday, Marcy. And bottom’s up, Miss Sammy.

Cold-smoked Bison from Remy on the Disney Dream

Remy_bisonThis recipe of cold-smoked bison from Remy on the Disney Dream may look pretty involved, but Scott Hunnel, who developed the dish, says, “It’s not that difficult.” That’s easy for him to say. The executive chef of Victoria & Albert’s can make intricate recipes look as easy as a boil-a-bag dinner. But Hunnel says the dish is also very adaptable, beginning with the bison. If you can’t find bison or buffalo (check Petty’s Market locally or try vivagourmet.com online), you can switch it out with tuna, in which case you would skip the cold smoking phase. Even if you do have bison, the cold smoke (which is achieved at a temperature under 100 degrees -- put ice cubes in the smokebox, says Hunnel) can be skipped. “It just gives it a nice twist,” he says. The recipe is currently offered aboard the ship because of the seasonal availability of blood oranges.

Chocolate Lava Cake from Disney's California Grill

 

Chocolate_Lava_Cake
Chocolate Lava Cake from California Grill at Disney's Contemporary Resort. (Photo: Walt Disney World)
Around Valentine’s Day, people start looking for foods that are reputed aphrodisiacs. Most of the foods that are supposed to increase sexual desire have not been verified by the F.D.A. as being able to do so. Oysters have long been rumored to be culinary musk, though way too many people find the prospect of eating them a turn-off rather than a turn on. And oysters on the half-shell are usually eaten as an appetizer. If you get yourself all worked up at the beginning of the meal you may not make it to dessert.

 

That’s where chocolate comes in. It may or may not have the power to arouse, but it’s worth a try. This recipe from the California Grill is a veritable love-bomb. If you serve it, don’t use the good china so you won’t be disappointed when the dishes go crashing to the floor when your lover clears the surface. If you decide to take your Valentine to California Grill to try the cake, keep in mind it’s at Disney’s Contemporary Resort. Get a room.

Top Shelf Butterscotch Pudding

I've never been much of a fan of butterscotch puddings. I don't know why - I like butter, I love scotch. Together, not so much.

That was until I tasted Donna Scala's Top Shelf Butterscotch Pudding. Scala, of course, is the creative genius behind La Luce, the fun Italian restaurant at Hilton Bonnet Creek, next door to the Waldorf Astoria. In fact, the full name of the restaurant is La Luce by Donna Scala, as though it were a special edition. As far as I'm concerned, this pudding is indeed a special edition. The secret, Scala told me, is that she uses Macallen Scotch, which just happens to be my favorite. It's also very pricy, and ordinarily I wouldn't advocate enjoying it any other way except neat. (I once ordered a glass of the 25 year old Macallan after a fine steak dinner at Smith & Wollensky in South Beach. The scotch cost almost as much as the steak.  I was horrified when the waiter brought it on the rocks. My God, I said, ice melts! He took it away and returned it after pouring it into a new glass without the ice -- un-uh, I said; new pour. That's how much I like Macallan.) Anyway, if Macallan can be turned into something as wonderful as this pudding, I'm willing to bend my rules. But for God's sake, don't serve it on ice.

How to Keep Your Turkey From Laying an Egg

Note from Scott: This is an article I wrote a long time ago, 1987, when I was the food editor for New Times in Phoenix. Jean Schnelle, whom I quote in the story, is no longer with the Butterball Turkey Talk-Line, and some other things have changed, but pretty much all of the information is still valid.

Also, check out this recipe for a yogurt turkey marinade from the Divas of Dish, Pam Brandon and Anne-Marie Denicole.

You’re cooking the family dinner this Thanksgiving.

The turkey doesn’t quite seem to be done yet. You’ve invested more money in this one meal than you normally spend

big tandoori
Your turkey can look as good as this one from our own Divas of Dish if you follow some simple rules.
on food in a whole month. And that group of people sitting in the dining room staring anxiously at the kitchen door is about to change from the Waltons to the Addams Family.

 

Just try to stay calm. Don’t panic.

Most likely, it’s the pressures of the day and the size of the meal that get even the most experienced cooks flustered over preparing the big bird. But if you plan ahead and follow some rules, Turkey Day will turn out fine.

Not that you should relax altogether. As a matter of fact, if you’re not careful, Thanksgiving could end up with another family get-together -- in the emergency room of the local hospital.

Now you’re upset again.

Let’s start at the beginning and go through the rules. Luckily, you have the good fortune to learn from the past mistakes of others. The experts who man the phones at the Butterball Turkey Talk-Line have heard all the turkey tragedies.

Jean Schnelle, director of the talk line, has been with the service since it began in 1982. Back then, there were only five or six women to answer calls. They were in a kitchen at the Swift-Eckrich facility in Oak Brook, Illinois, using regular phones, which they had to cradle on their shoulders while they talked. Today there are 44 operators, all professional home economists, with the convenience of headsets. They need to be comfortable to answer all those calls. The operators are armed with all the answers, and more than just a little compassion.

Cantina Laredo Guacamole

guacThey sell a lot of guacamole at Cantina Laredo on Restaurant Row. How much? “Hundreds,” says general manager Nate Graves. “Almost one to every table.” Graves says the appetizer, called Top Shelf guacamole, is one of the restaurant’s best selling items and a reason many guests return. One of the reasons the guests enjoy it so much is that it is prepared tableside.

Graves says one of the key secrets to making good guac is to make sure not to bruise the tomatoes. Too many people make the mistake of adding the tomatoes in the beginning and mashing them with the other ingredients. Also, you don’t want to mash the avocados into a paste, you want to keep some good chunks.

Haas avocados make the best guacamole, says Graves, because they have a better consistency and flavor profile compared to other types of avocados. When choosing an avocado, he says, look for ones with a purplish tint, and they should feel like an orange when you squeeze them. Don’t get ones that are too hard -- you want chunks, but you don’t want to break a tooth.

Seared Sea Scallops with Citrus Tabbouleh and Mango Vinaigrette from Seasons 52's Clifford Pleau

It hardly seems possible, but it has been almost nine years since Clifford Pleau was heading the kitchen at California Grill. He left Disney, of course, to become the executive chef for an as-yet unnamed new concept from Darden Restaurants that turned out to be Seasons 52. I caught up with Pleau by phone in King of Prussia, Penn., where he was overseeing the opening of the 10th Seasons 52. When I reached him, he was, at that very moment, cleaning scallops for the recipe presented here.Scallops_from_Seasons_52

“This recipe is perfect for this time of year,” says Pleau. “It’s nice and light and citrusy.” The chef offered some tips for making the recipe. Use extra virgin olive oil and put it in a spray bottle. He says you can find pricy ones at fancy kitchen stores, but “I think the dollar-ninety-nine bottles you can get at a beauty supply store work just fine.”

He also says to be sure to wash the citrus and use the zest, being careful not to get any of the “white stuff” because it would lend an astringent flavor. A skewer fashioned out of lemongrass or a sugar cane will keep the scallops together. For the tabbouleh, Pleau suggests a bit of crumbled feta cheese on top “for a little color and pizzaz.” For a plate garnish, he says to roast lemon slices under a broiler. The heat will give the yellow lemons a nice brown scorch and will loosen up the juices.

Since opening the prototype Seasons 52 on Sand Lake Road in summer of 2003, Darden has moved slowly to open others, but the pace has been quickened. “Now,” says Pleau, who travels about one week each month to oversee the restaurants, “I’m starting to get my stride.”