What exactly does “40” have to do with this blog and it’s new “Disney Edition” you ask, well let’s take a look and the number and see what we can find…….
Religiously, “40” has a substantial significance. In Judaism, it rained for forty days and forty nights during the flood. In Christianity, Jesus fasted for forty days and forty nights. In Islam, the Quran states that a person is only fully grown when they reach the age of forty.
In Sports, the number “40” was worn by the likes of Bill Laimbeer, Pat Tillman, Mike Haynes and Gale Sayers.
In the cooking world, there are shows like “Forty Dollars a Day” and on the television show “The Early Show” they do a segment called “Chef on a Shoestring” in which they give the chef a budget of $40.00 to prepare a meal.
So what does “40” really mean to me, Disney, and this blog?
They say that “40” is just a number and you are only as old as you feel. I act like a 12-year-old and feel like a 20-year-old, but the number “40” really means so much more to me…………
Well, forty years ago this coming weekend I was born. That’s right, my “40th” birthday is coming and I felt like embracing it instead of feeling old like everyone says I will. I grew up in a good home with good parents and a pretty good family to say the least. We went on many vacations to many places, but, none hold as special a place in my heart as the Walt Disney resort in Orlando, FL. Come October 1, The Walt Disney World Resort will be turning “40” as well. They opened the main gates on that very day to an admission cost of $4.95 per person. Pretty soon if things continue on like they are, we will be paying that much for a gallon of gas (which in today’s vehicles you would barely be able to get to Brighton from the city of Detroit). Maybe that’s why I have the infatuation with the number one vacation destination in the world. I’m not really sure, but, I do know that throughout my soon to be forty years on this planet, I have been able to share my many vacations to the sunny lands of the Magic Kingdom with family, friends, girlfriends, my wife and soon my son and my nephew.
The recipe this week is from Norway in the EPCOT World Showcase. It is the recipe for the Breakfast Potato Casserole served at Akershus. The “40” is the approximate amount of time that the dish takes to bake.
Happy Birthday, Walt Disney World, and, Happy Birthday to Rick Moranis as well. He and I share the same birthday.
Breakfast Potato Casserole
1 1/2 lbs diced potatoes
1 1/2 lbs shredded potatoes
4 ounces diced white onions
8 ounces shredded cheddar cheese (reserve half for topping)
8 ounces shredded Jarlsberg cheese
13 ounces Béchamel sauce
8 ounces sour cream
Salt & pepper
5 ounces milk
- In mixing bowl, combine all ingredients (minus the cheese for topping) and mix well by hand.
- Place in greased casserole. Sprinkle with reserved cheese.
- Cover with waxed paper and then aluminum foil.
- Bake in 350-degree oven for approximately 40 minutes, removing foil and paper for last ten minutes to brown top if desired.
Sorry for the delay in getting back to the blog. I know I’ve neglected my duties here, but, school needed some attention.
As you can see above, the title of the blog has now changed to “Confessions of a Displaced Chef – Disney Edition”. I have been planning a vacation for my wife and children for the past year and finally we are at 5 weeks and counting until it’s time to depart. We will be spending 12 days in sunny Florida at the Walt Disney World resort and during that time I am going to be sampling many different cuisines and foods from all around the world with the hopes of bringing back recipes for some of those dishes to recreate in my kitchen and yours. For the next five weeks I will be blogging some of my favorites from vacation past and hopefully you will enjoy them as much as I have.
The recipe I’m going to share today is a recipe that I first tried back in 1998. My wife and I were on our honeymoon and I can still remember ordering this dish for lunch one day like it was yesterday. The dish was the Tillamook Cheddar Mac and Cheese with Maytag Crust at the Artist Point Restaurant in the Wilderness Lodge.
Now you’re probably asking yourself why a simple Mac and Cheese is so memorable. Other than the fact that we were on our honeymoon, this Mac and Cheese had flavors that I had never had in a Mac and Cheese before. Back in 1998 if it weren’t for boxed Kraft Mac and Cheese, I didn’t eat Mac and Cheese. The combination of the creamy texture and sharpness of the Tillamook Cheddar and the bite of the Maytag Bleu Cheese just went well together. It was a delicious combination that took the homestyle favorite that we all grew up with as children and made it seem much more sophisticated while still getting the guilty pleasure we did as kids. Hope you enjoy the recipe…
Tillamook Cheddar Mac and Cheese with Maytag Crust
4 Tbsp Butter
3 Tbsp Flour
3 Cups Milk
1/2 Tsp Kosher Salt
1/4 Tsp White Pepper
1 Cup Shredded Tillamook Cheddar Cheese
4 Cups Cooked Pasta
1 Cup Maytag Bleu Cheese, crumbled
1/2 Cup Panko Japanese Bread Crumbs
1. Melt butter in a 1-quart saucepan over low heat. Whisk in flour, stirring to combine. Cook 2 to 3 minutes. Cook over low heat for 5 minutes more.
2. Gradually add milk, whisking constantly until thickened. Season with salt and pepper.
3. Add shredded Tillamook cheddar and stir to incorporate evenly.
4. Preheat oven t 375 degrees F.
5. Pour sauce over cooked pasta, stir to coat and place in an oven-safe dish.
6. Combine crumbled Maytag bleu cheese and panko bread crumbs, and top the pasta.
7. Bake in oven at 375 degrees for approximately 30 minutes. Center should be hot and the topping golden brown.
Just wanted to let everyone know that this week over at Allrecipes.tv they are airing my episode of “What’s Cooking?” again in honor of Superbowl XLV. I talked about in one of my previous posts about the actual filming, but in this weeks edition of the blog, I thought I would bring the Bacon Explosion recipe to the table.
The Bacon Explosion is a carnivores dream. It’s a basket weave made from bacon, then stuffed with pork sausage, cheddar cheese and green onions, then smoked in the smoker for a few hours and sauced with your favorite barbecue sauce. Now I know it sounds like 4000 calories per serving, but, this isn’t a dish that you should eat everyday. It’s one of those special occasion dishes that you may just want to bring out for that special day like the Superbowl.
After smoking the meat monster of good fortune, slice it up and serve it on freshly baked biscuits. It’s a southern man’s dream and yes I know I live in the “D” which is in the north, but, every once in a while we all have to let the good ol’ boy out in all of us. Enjoy the recipe and as always…..
I was at work yesterday and my boss/father told me that he had picked up some Italian Sausage and would we be interested in having it for lunch the next day. Of course me being the fine carnivore that I am jumped at the opportunity to enjoy in the links of wonder from our local meat counter.
Italian sausage is not only to be sautéed and thrown into sauce for pasta, and deserves much more than a simple carmelization of peppers and onions. I like to make a rich tomato based sauce that simmers for a good hour. That gives the tomatoes just enough time to soften up, but not break down to the point where they liquify. Then we take the links and nestle them in a nice toasted roll of crusty bread covered with the sauce.
Back to SNOWMAGEDDON…. In the metro Detroit area there have been reports that we are supposed to get upwards of 12 to 18 inches of snow this evening. They have already cancelled all evening activities and school for tomorrow before a single flake has hit the ground. Unfortunately, this means nothing to me other than my wife and kids get to stay home, and I get to go to work in the snow. That my friends is the definition of “sucks”.
“Katie, bar the door” , the end is near…….
Enjoy the recipe and Happy Cookin’.
ITALIAN SAUSAGE SAUCE
2 teaspoons olive oil
1/2 each red, yellow, and green pepper sliced thin
1 medium onion, sliced thin
1/3 cup Red Wine
2 teaspoons Fennel Seeds
2 teaspoons dried basil
2 tablespoon chopped garlic
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon garlic powder
28 oz. canned diced tomatoes
Salt and Pepper, to taste
8 Italian Sausage Links
Saute the peppers and onions in the olive oil until soft and tender, approx. 10 minutes. Add the seasonings and red wine and reduce until most of the liquid is absorbed, about 5 – 7 minutes. Add the tomatoes and simmer for about 1 to 1 1/2 hours, stirring occasionally, on low heat until the tomatoes begin to break down a little bit but are still chunky. Taste and adjust the seasonings as necessary. Grill or roast the Italian Sausages until done. Place the sausages in lightly toasted buns and top with the tomato, pepper and onion mixture. Makes 8
To make this recipe even faster, you can use a 16 oz. bag of frozen peppers and onions (fajita mix) to cut down on the prep time.
The White House has decided that back in July it would be a good idea to start a Twitter feed for those of us that just don’t get enough information.
They have decided to let the world know………(drumroll please)……………THE PRESIDENTIAL SOUP OF THE DAY!!!!!!
Now there comes a point to where the world of technology crosses over into the relm of to much information. I think The White House may have crossed that line. Do we really need to know the soup of the day from the White House? It’s not like I can go there and get a bowl no matter how good it sounds. I can see the encounter going something like this……
Chef Ron: (approaches the White House and knocks on the front door)
Secret Service Agent: Ummm, can I help you?
Chef Ron: Yes, I was walking by and just received a Tweet from @WHSoupoftheDay that the soup of the day for Januray 21, 2011 is Cajun Gumbo. I was wondering how one may go about getting a bowl of this presidential yummy goodness?
Secret Service Agent: Do you have an appointment?
Chef Ron: well, no. The White House just Tweeted the soup of the day just 10 minutes ago.
Secret Service Agent: Are you an important dignitary?
Chef Ron: Uh, no.
Secret Service Agent: Do you or any family of yours run a small country?
Chef Ron: No, but I do have a laptop and I’ve heard you can take over Canada with a laptop and an iPad.
Secret Service Agent: Do you have any reason to be coming to the White House other than the fact that you would like to get some of the PRESIDENTIAL SOUP OF THE DAY?
Chef Ron: No.
Secret Service Agent: I’m sorry sir, but, without an invitation from the President of the United States, you’re not getting in.
Chef Ron: But it’s the latest craze. Food trucks are doing it everywhere. They Tweet their location and the customers come flocking like sheep. I only figured that’s what the White House was doing too because there was not recipe with it, just the announcement of the PRESIDENTIAL SOUP OF THE DAY. Could I at least get the recipe?
Secret Service Agent: Isn’t it in the Tweet?
Chef Ron: I believe I just told you “No”. They just told us what the PRESIDENTIAL SOUP OF THE DAY was.
Secret Service Agent: Sorry, sir. That’s classified. It’s a matter of national security.
Chef Ron: Well I guess that would make sense seeing that it wasn’t included with the Tweet. Then why is the White House telling us what kind of soup is the PRESIDENTIAL SOUP OF THE DAY then?
Secret Service agent: That’s also classified.
Chef Ron: That’s not really helpful or information of any use to anyone then, is it?
Secret Service Agent: I would suppose not. Have a nice day, sir.
So you see folks, the point I’m trying to make here is not that the White House doesn’t put out important Tweets, but, seriously…… Do we really need to know what the hell the President of the United States is eating for lunch and/or dinner today? The topper of all toppers is that it’s not even a recipe. They send you a message stating the soup of the day and nothing on how to make it. The following recipe is a recipe that I have made many times and is one of the best Gumbo recipes I have found. Enjoy the Gumbo……
- 1 pound smoked sausage, cut into 1/4 inch rounds
- 1/2 cup vegetable oil
- 1 (4 pound) chicken, cut into parts
- 2/3 cup all-purpose flour
- 2 cups chopped onion
- 1/2 cup chopped green onions
- 2/3 cup green bell pepper, finely chopped
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
- 1 tablespoon minced garlic
- 2 pounds medium shrimp – peeled and deveined
- 8 cups water
- salt to taste
- ground black pepper to taste
- 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- 2 bay leaves
- file powder
In a medium skillet, brown the sausage over medium heat. Remove from pan, and drain on paper towels to remove some of the fat. Discard fat in pan.
In a large skillet, heat vegetable oil over high heat. Brown the chicken pieces in hot oil. Turn frequently until golden brown on all sides. Transfer chicken to a dish, leaving oil in pan. Set chicken aside, but keep warm.
Make a roux by whisking flour into the hot vegetable oil. Turn heat down to low. Continue cooking flour and oil mixture, stirring constantly, until it reaches a dark brown color. This may take 30 to 45 minutes; the darker the roux, the better the final gumbo.
When the roux is a dark brown color, quickly add the sausage, onion, green onion tops, green pepper, parsley, and garlic. Cook over low heat until the vegetables are wilted, about 10 minutes, stirring constantly.
Stir in 2 cups water and spices. Add chicken parts. Add rest of the water slowly. Bring mixture to a boil, and reduce heat. Simmer for about 45 minutes, until chicken is done and tender.
Remove chicken pieces, and save for another use. Add shrimp to gumbo; cook for about 8 to 10 minutes more. Remove bay leaves. Taste, and adjust seasoning. Serve gumbo in deep bowls. Sprinkle file powder over individual servings, and stir in.
It’s time for me to come to reality and conquer my fear.
Now fear as it is defined is:
1. a distressing emotion aroused by impending danger, evil, pain, etc., whether the threat is real or imagined; the feeling or condition of being afraid.
2. a specific instance of or propensity for such a feeling: an abnormal fear of heights.
3. concern or anxiety; solicitude: a fear for someone’s safety.
4. reverential awe, esp. toward god.
5. that which causes a feeling of being afraid; that of which a person is afraid: Cancer is a common fear.
We all have fears of our own. Some are afraid of heights, and others are afraid of flying. Some are afraid of snakes and others are afraid of spiders. My fear is a recipe…..
Now I know your saying, “ok moron, are you really trying to tell me that you have a fear of a recipe?”, and the answer is a resounding “yes”.
My fear is a recipe that came out of a “Walt Disney World” cookbook (also another passion of mine). This dish was for the Polynesian Luau Chicken. When my wife and I went on our honeymoon to Walt Disney World we went to the Luau and the chicken was amazing. So to my surprise, I found a cookbook while on that vacation that had hundreds of recipes from all around Walt Disney World and there it was. Me, being the chef that I am, decided I would pickup the book and recreate the dish at home. Sounds good, right? WRONG!
The dish was so bad that even the dog we had at the time wouldn’t even eat it, and no, I’m not kidding. Our dog we had would eat nails and drywall, but, this chicken he turned his nose up to. It’s the only time that both my wife and I actually spit the food out it was so bad. I feel down deep inside that the err was not in the recipe, but in the preparation. I’ve been cooking long enough to know when a recipe sounds good and when one sounds bad, and this one doesn’t sound bad. It can’t be. My beloved Disney wouldn’t steer me wrong.
So, it’s time to conquer my fear. I am going to make this dish and see how it turns out. If it turns out better than the last time, we’ll know it was me. If it turns out as bad as it did before, it was the recipe. There’s a 50/50 chance and I’m feeling like gambling. Aloha, honey! The chicken is coming this weekend.
Some of you may know, the city of Detroit was featured in a webisode of “What’s Cooking?” at the Allrecipes.tv website. Since I am pimping the episode, I will answer your questions and say “yes”, it was I who was the featured chef in the episode. (hehe)
Now for those that know me, I clearly have no problem with self promotion especially because this was a really great accomplishment in my cooking career and it was a lot of fun.
One day I was sitting at my computer and an email popped up from Allrecipes.com. Now, I had been a member for years to that site and an email from them came almost daily to my inbox, but, this time it was different. This wasn’t your daily recipe in your inbox email it was a letter from the Marketing Manager of Allrecipes. The email stated that Allrecipes.com was branching out and using their sister site Allrecipes.tv to showcase some of its members making their favorite dishes via a new show called “What’s Cooking?” and wanted to know if I would be interested in being featured in an episode of the show. Of course, I didn’t think this was a real email, but, curiosity was getting the best of me and I also didn’t want to blow an opportunity if it was real, so I replied “Sure. Sounds like fun”.
After many conversations via email and through the telephone, we locked down a date and filming was to begin on October 14th, 2010. The host Michael couldn’t have been friendlier and the videographer David had a great “eye” for detail. We spent the day filming “B” reel around Detroit then made our way back to my house to shoot the making of the Flank Steak. Once we sat down to eat, it was really nice to see that these two guys from the Seattle area made it as easy for a first timer like me and actually made me look good in the process. (Thanks again guys.)
Here’s the video we shot and the recipe as well. Hope you enjoy it!
FLANK STEAK MARINADE
1 (1 1/2-pound) flank steak, fat trimmed
3/4 cup olive oil
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1/2 cup dry red wine
1/4 cup soy sauce
3 tablespoons onion powder
3 tablespoons honey
3 whole green onions, coarsely chopped
4 cloves garlic
2 tablespoons garlic vinegar
1 1/2 teaspoons ground ginger
1 1/2 teaspoons garlic powder
- Score the flank steak by making shallow crisscross cuts on both sides.
- Place the olive oil, light brown sugar, red wine, soy sauce, onion powder, honey, green onions, garlic cloves, garlic vinegar, ground ginger, and garlic powder in a blender. Puree until smooth; pour mixture into a resealable plastic bag. Add the steak, coat with the marinade, squeeze out excess air, and seal the bag. Marinate in the refrigerator overnight.
- Preheat an outdoor grill for medium-high heat, and lightly oil the grate.
- Allow the flank steak to rest at room temperature for 20 minutes. Remove the steak from the marinade, and shake off excess. Pour the marinade into a small saucepan and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer for 10 minutes; set aside.
- Grill the steak on the preheated grill until it starts to firm, and is reddish-pink and juicy in the center, about 7 minutes per side, basting often with the sterilized marinade. An instant-read thermometer inserted into the center should read 130 degrees F (54 degrees C). Allow the meat to rest for approx. 5 to 10 minutes before carving.
Ok, so we all have done something stupid in our lives and regretted it later.
We went to that party many moons ago and got sick in the car on the way home. We’ve smashed our thumb while hitting in a nail with a hammer. We’ve grabbed a hot pan without grabbing a pot holder first. Etc……
I’m sure that everyone has done one of the above mentioned things or something else that we didn’t think about the outcome before taking action.
As I was driving down the road yesterday, I was listening to a “Best Of” show from Drew and Mike here in Detroit. They were discussing a story that got one of our residents from the State of Michigan recognized by many national media outlets like CNN, The NYTimes and the Daily News. Welcome to what I call, “The Redneck Moment”.
Now Charles Darwin has had his theory for many years that ” all species of life have descended over time from common ancestry, and proposed the scientific theory that this branching pattern of evolution resulted from a process that he called natural selection”. I am not here to prove or disprove that theory, just looking at the fact that if it were true, some of us have evolved better than others.
Take for example this fine upstanding citizen from Oakland County. He felt that it would be a wonderful idea back in February 2010 after a snowstorm to fabricate a rocket, strap it to his back and head, have a friend light it and propel himself down the incline at “rocket speeds”. Now, this clearly was a decision that was made while being intoxicated, but in all of my 20+ years of consuming the nectar from the gods of hops and barley did it ever occur to me to actually take a car muffler, fill it with explosive material and launch myself down a hill of snow. Of course the man suffered 2nd degree burns after the incendiary device malfunctioned and almost blew his head off, but the gentleman did not have any life threatening injuries.
That my friends is what I call…….A Redneck Moment….
So my wife’s birthday was this past weekend, and instead of a birthday cake this year she wanted my White Chocolate Raspberry Cheesecake. Now, the recipe for the cheesecake will come some time later because this post is more about what I came up with to “up the ante” a little bit.
I purchased some Raspberry Sauce from a local store and thought I would just decorate the plate a little bit and add to the presentation. Me being the “it needs something more” kinda guy that I am, I wanted to make another type of sauce to complement the cheesecake. Seeing that the cheesecake was a white chocolate/raspberry cheesecake, a white chocolate sauce was a no brainer.
Here’s the recipe:
White Chocolate Sauce
1 c. – heavy whipping cream
10 oz. – white chocolate chips
2 T. – light corn syrup
1/2 t. – pure vanilla extract
1/3 c. – half and half
So let me start off with a little bit about why I’m here and what to expect from me.
I am the Displaced Chef. I call myself the displaced chef because I am being formally trained to be in a professional kitchen, preparing beautiful dishes from all corners of the earth, looking at the front seat of a 2007 Honda Civic that needs an airbag put in and a seat cover repaired.
That’s right folks, I work in a family owned automotive trim shop for the last 20 years, and like many other people in the world today, plan to change careers here at the ripe old age of 40.
That being said, I have decided to come to you. You, the vast and wonderful world of the Internet with my thoughts, ramblings, recipes and what not.
I am a father of two and a husband of one. I work full time in the above mentioned automotive trim shop, and weekends in the banquet kitchen at a country club. I love to cook and some of the recipes I share will be mine, and some may be others that I think are just so good that the world needs to see and try them just so they can enjoy them as much as I do.
I welcome your feedback and any questions you may have and without further adieu…..
“Please stand clear of the doors; por favor mantenganse alejado de las puertas.”
The ride is just beginning….