Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Oktoberfest 3

The ginormous, 1 liter beer mugs are in. They have also been through about 3 rounds of thorough testing. These ginormous beer mugs contain almost 3 twelve ounce beers each and weigh probably 2-3 pounds...without beer. They also provide an excellent swell of oxygen that flows while you are sipping thus increasing the ease of consumption. Not to mention the fact that you feel like a real man holding such a big mug full of delicious, frothy beer. The training goes on!!


I learned a strange dish/sandwich/snack when I was in Sweden a while back and I made it again today. I was looking around my fridge for something light and healthy. I'm getting a bit chunky, so I could lose about 5 pounds, but I have not had a meal without meat in it since I had a can of Italian Gerbers 29 years ago. Until today. Anyway, I had a ripe avocado and 1 egg left. Not much you can do with 1 egg. So I was thinking back to when I was in Sweden last and my cousin Ninna made a tasty snack one afternoon in Dandaryd (a town outside of Stockholm). She boiled an egg and mashed it up with a ripe avocado and put it on a piece of bread. Brilliant! I did that today only I added some lemon juice and spicy seasoning. Oh, and the reason the title is Ballerina is because Ninna is a professional Ballerina.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Spicy Shrimp

Impressing dinner guests is difficult if you do not know what they like or want or can or can not handle. So you kind of roll the dice and see what happens. Last night I made spicy shrimp, with my mom's fried rice and a salad. I've already talked about the rice and the salad was pretty simple (olive oil, balsamic vinegar, sugar, mustard and some spices). The spicy shrimp were quite good. As you can see from the picture, I took it a bit late after we had tucked into the dish already.

I cooked the shrimp in olive oil, white wine (pinot grigio in this case), garlic, seasoned salt, pepper flakes, some cajun seasoning and some lemon. Cook it for a few minutes, maybe 5-7, and then take the shrimp out. In the pan with all the juices, add 2-3 tablespoons of butter and let it melt thus thickening the sauce. That sauce was great on the rice and the shrimp.

This post is a little more boring than others. I'm not feeling creative today, but, the shrimp were really good so I felt like sharing the recipe.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Bacon Basil and Tomato

Not a BLT, rather a BBT. I didn't have any lettuce, so I used basil in stead and it was incredible. I put mozzarella cheese, a little mayonnaise, cherry tomatoes, basil leaves and of course a ton of crispy bacon on toasted bread. Simple and delicious.

Monday, February 11, 2008


Okay, so I cooked a quick, easy meal that was cheap and filling. Chicken, Spinach, Penne pasta and some parmigiana reggiano cheese, for Mark and I before going out and hitting the town.

  • Penne Pasta
  • Chicken cutlets
  • Teriyaki Sauce
  • Sugar
  • Spices
  • Spinach
  • Chicken powder
  • Garlic
  • Parmigaino Reggiano
  • Pepper
Seriously, are any of these ingredients hard to find???? No!!! Easy and cheap and festive.

Chicken - marinate it in Teriyaki sauce and some sugar for about 30 minutes to an hour, with any spices you might want. (I like my teriyaki spicy) I like to cut the chicken breasts in half to chicken cutlets so they cook quicker. Cook on a medium heated grill pan for about 4 minutes per side and let sit of at least 5 minutes than cut up into pieces.
Spinach - You could get fresh spinach and cook it in garlic and spices or frozen spinach. Either one works. Cook it separately and about as long as the box says, maybe a bit longer to let the spices marinate.
Penne - Cook for about 10 minutes (al dente) in chicken stock.

Basically mix all the ingredients in the biggest pot you have and sprinkle fresh parmigiana cheese all over the dish and mix it in.

It's incredible and it's fricking delicious and easy. It's a simple meal

If you love it. Let me know. This is yet another recipe where I took from my mother's knowledge and used it to the best of my ability. She is the best chef on EARTH!!!!!!!!!

By the way, I was 65 to 70 % drunk when I made this with diet Miller!

Dank ja wel!!!!

Saturday, February 9, 2008

How to cook

Some people are scared to cook, some people are lazy, some people just aren't big into eating other than the necessary day to day enrichment of their body, and there are those who want to learn how to cook, but for one reason or another, do not. So for those who ask themselves, what can I do? I tell you that all it takes is passion and love.

Why do you think the best chef's in the world are the best? Because they are passionate and love what they are doing. Why do you think my mom is such a good chef? Because she used to put Kahlua in my chocolate milk when I was a kid and I didn't know any better. No seriously, because she has passion and an abundance of love. All you have to do is cook for people you love, or just at least like and get excited about it. Find some good, fairly easy recipes and just get going. What's the worst that could happen? You could light your kitchen on fire. I've done that. You could make someone vomit (I actually have not made anyone else vomit yet, just myself). So what? I'm a good chef now because of all of those incidents and they all make good stories. Cooking is like anything else in life, half the battle is won just by showing up.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Oktoberfest Part 2

Guten Tag once again,

Our second official training exercise took place at Bauern-Stube restaurant. This restaurant has been in Orlando, with the same German owners, yes German, for about 20 years, it is somewhat of a local icon. High school German classes frequent this place as well as plenty of German locals. The food was good. What I liked about the place is that it had a much more German feeling. The owners had accents, our server, probably the owners daughter, looked German and was very jovial and accommodating. More on that later. But first my theory on drinking attitudes.

Each nation has a different culture and mindset towards drinking and partying. One thing that is the same across the board is that almost every country in the world brews a national beer and/or imports beer. And almost every country in the world has a different attitude towards beer and a different reaction towards drinking. Americans and Canadians get really drunk and when they get drunk they get crazy. They seem to lose any sense of good judgment and don't mind making really bad decisions. Fighting, puking, driving, etc. English people are generally like this as well.

However, I must say that through my travels I have noticed that Germans, Swedes and the Irish get really, really happy and excited when they drink. They start singing songs, playing music and just having a good time. Plus the Germans and the Irish are the number 1 and 2 drinking countries per capita so maybe they just have more practice at acting somewhat normal and non-violent when they drink. So if you want to get your head bashed in by a maniac, go to Oklahoma. If you want to get your head bashed in by a happy drunk, go to Dublin.

Anyway, back to the restaurant. As I said in my last entry, we are focusing on Bavarian beers. We each had a Paulaner which was excellent and smooth as always. The beer mug was a liter (about 2 and 3/4 normal beers) and exactly what it will look and feel like in Munich during Oktoberfest. So of course the next day we purchased 6 liter beer mugs for authentic in-house practicing. But the expense is tax deductible because it all goes to our training.

Auf wiederhesen

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Oktoberfest Part 1

Guten Tag,

I will be in Munich Germany September 18th to 23rd attending the largest outdoor beer drinking party in the world. Also known as Oktoberfest. I am going with a friend. I do not take going to Oktoberfest lightly and view the trip as a vacation, but also as a responsibility and commitment to all avid beer drinkers around the world and to myself. Thus our training has begun in January giving us about 8 months to complete all necessary preparations and be able to fully enjoy the experience. What is the primary "necessary preparation"? Well, we have to be able to drink a ton of fresh German beer, preferably from Bavaria. If we show up at the Hafbrauhaus at 10am, drink 3 liters each and pass out on the table with a Bratwurst and a pretzel hanging out of our mouths, that would be bad and a waste.

Anyway, the training begun January 15th at a small German restaurant here in Orlando. I had the Wiener Schnitzel and Bart had the Pork Knuckle. The food was served with red cabbage and sauerkraut. The restaurant was empty, but the food was decent.

Enough about the food. Let's talk about the beer. We each had 3 pints of Warsteiner which was had a smooth flow and an excellent tag line: "Because life's too short." I'm not sure why a beer company would say that? Maybe a travel agency. What are they trying to say? Life's too short so drink your face off until you have cirrhosis and your liver resembles a checker board.

Moving on. The Warsteiner beer is from the lesser producing northern region. Most beers are produced in Bavaria, to the south and that is where Oktoberfest is, so we made an executive decision to focus our beer drinking efforts on such brands as Paulaner, Haufbrau, Lowenbrau, etc.

Overall, it was an excellent experience, worth the trip, but not again. The beer was good, the food was above average. The fact that the owners were Indian did not diminish the experience at all.

Auf wiederhesen!

Friday, February 1, 2008

Say Hello to my Turkish Friends

A few days ago I prepared a meal for 4 Turkish people. They are in the US for 6 weeks and are all restaurantors. Needless to say I was a bit nervous to cook for people with such discerning taste. I thought at first that I should get them liquored up so they couldn't tell the difference between a fillet mignon and a flank steak, but they had just met me and were hesitant to drink diet Miller. It ended up being one of the best dinners I have ever served. I broke in the new fryer with some spicy Calamari Fritti. Then we had some Bruschetta with tomato, basil, and garlic. Then we had beef kabobs with mushroom, onion and peppers. All drunken down with some fresh diet Miller and a few bottles of Smoking Loon red wine. The booz was cheap, but good enough to get the job done. And the Turks opened up a bit after they had a few drinks in them. Despite their above average English proficiency, they were very friendly and open. But I like anyone who likes to drink and eat.

The kabobs and bruschetta are pretty easy to make (post a comment if you want the recipe), so here's the recipe for the calamari fritti: (by the way, this is yet another cheap recipe. 2 pounds of squid cost me about $6)

Serves 5 people as a small appetizer
2 pounds of squid
Cayenne pepper
McCormick's Season All
Old Bay Seasoning
Knorr's Aromat Seasoning
Garlic Powder
Fryer with Peanut Oil.

  • Clean the squid. Take out the tentacles (cut them up to fry later, being careful not to break the ink sack). Be sure to take off the skin. Cut the squid into small round pieces about a quarter of an inch wide.
  • Soak the squid in milk for 1 to 2 hours
  • Heat the peanut oil to 350 degrees
  • Put about a cup of flour into a bowl and add all of the seasoning from above. I don't remember how much to put in. If you want it really spicy, put in a bunch, if not, don't.
  • Take the squid out of the milk (don't fully pat dry, just enough to make sure the squid is not dripping with milk when you put it in the flour mixture) and put it into the flour mixture.
  • Toss the calamari in the flour mixture until it has a very thin coat. It should not be soggy, but have a nice thin layer of the flour and spices.
  • Put one layer of calamari in the fryer for about 1 to 2 minutes, that's it!
  • Dump the cooked calamari on a paper towel and let sit for a couple of minutes before serving.
  • The sauce I used was simply a store bought marinara sauce kicked up with some cayenne pepper, black pepper, and a bit of hot sauce.