Chef Ryan On the Hot! Seat

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Ryan’s Menu For The Day

Today was a special day for my Kathy and me. Our son Ryan has attended the Culinary School at Manchester Bidwell for the past year, and today was his Chef of the Day Challenge. Yes, we have another budding chef in the family, but his skills are being formally trained while Kathy and I learned using the ‘hit and miss’ teaching curriculum–not a bad way to learn, but it takes a lifetime commitment and many, many humbling moments.

Student Chef Ryan With His Copyrighted Cheshire Smile

He’s been planning for this challenge for weeks. Prior to his assigned Challenge Day, he was responsible for selecting and creating the recipes for the multicourse menu he chose as presented in the header photo for this blog. He then collaborated with the professional staff chefs to order, purchase and cost out the ingredients for the menu items. He then had to create a detailed workplan and timeline for the 14 or so student chefs that would be under his guidance while they prepared, cooked, sauced and served the meal to about 20 or so people, including the student chefs and professional staff chefs. On the assigned day, he then had to lead and guide the student chefs through the execution phase of the dinner and be ready to serve it at precisely 2:30 pm.

Effectively, he played the role the head or executive chef would ordinarily play in a larger restaurant. In my mind, the most daunting element of the Challenge is that the students and professional staff rate the meal and his performance as the head chef for the day. There’s nothing more challenging than having to tell people what to do in a multi-tasking environment, and then have the workers who performed the tasks critique the outcomes.

I was involved early in the menu debate phase because he wanted to do something different, but not too outside the box or complex. He also had a budget to deal with, so legs of lamb, prime rib, filets and other expensive ingredients were off the table. He had to have a fish and meat course and enough prep and cooking elements to occupy the full complement of student chefs during the day. Since many of the menu items we cook around the house were familiar to him and us, he chose some family favorites, and added a few new ones to keep things interesting. Brave soul, that boy!!

He and Kathy then spoke almost everyday to discuss ingredients, quantities and the other ‘little’ things she does to make her recipes special. For example, she adds Chinese Five Spices to her fruit cobblers to give them a bright and unique layer of flavor. (Please note, this could be my last blog, because She’ll probably rip my fingers off for disclosing that little tidbit!)

The Plating and Tastes Were Terrific!

Professional Chef and Student Chefs

We were invited guests to the dinner, and I arrived just in time for plating and serving to begin. I have to say, Ryan seemed not the least bit nervous or rattled. He was smiling, and appeared confident that the team of student chefs had performed admirably and expertly to create his menu exactly as he desired.

The plating was terrific, the food tasted fresh and healthy, and the menu items worked well together to create a great tasting dinner!! Compliments were flowing freely among the student chefs and the professional staff chefs, because they were pleased with the outcome knowing they had each contributed much to the dinner.

He’s come a long way since he began this Culinary School, and we couldn’t be more proud of what he is accomplishing, and of the potential he has in his newly found career. I wish I could say he was a ‘chip off the ol’ block’ but the truth is he is creating his own chips for his future. Pretty cool (or should I say Hot!) to be a young person with a lifetime of mastering recipes, creating menus and learning cooking techniques before them.

If I had it to do over agian, I’d still have been a businessman, but I’d have spent more time following my passion for cooking–even if it was only an occassional international cooking school every now and again. There’s a lesson in there for all of us with primary careers and earning a living–save room in your life for the passions yet unchased–they’ll make your life richer and more fulfilling even if for just for moments of time during a lifetime.

Gazpacho–Get Cool to be Hot!

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This past Sunday, my friend Tim and I rode our bicycles 105 miles participating in the Pittsburgh Tour de Cure, an American Diabetes Fundraiser.  I have done other Centuries in the past, and as they go, this was a pretty good test of the training we have done this year.  We averaged about 15 MPH over the full 105 miles, climbed nearly 6,000 feet, and spent not quite 8 hours on the back roads of Western Pennsylvania with about 75 other Century riders.  To be totally candid, Tim can hammer the hills like you cannot believe, and he ‘pulled’ (rode in front of me) me up the hills for about the last 20 miles.  But the camaraderie of sharing the challenge of the day is special, and we raised some money for a great cause.

During a ride like last Sunday’s, my bike computer told me I burned 6,500 calories–most of them carbs.  We constantly eat PB&J sandwiches and fruit, hydrate with Gatorade and consume GU during the ride, but it’s just not possible to replace that many calories while on a bike.  So when we finish the ride, we immediately consume mountains of pasta, fruit, chocolate milk and whatever happens to be within arms reach to begin the recovery process.

True to form, I ate some roasted chicken and a substantial quantity of pretty average macaroni and cheese at the finish line.  On the way home, I stopped at Bruster’s Ice Cream shop and bought a large chocolate milk shake, which, like a reward or prize, actually feeds your soul, more than replenishes the calories.  Riding up and down Western Pennsylvania hills can suck the life out of your soul–trust me on this one.  And there’s just something about being able to consume so many empty calories without guilt that re-births your soul.  It’s one of those simple pleasures of riding long-distances on a bike.

However, all the way home, my mind was focused on the Gazpacho I had made for the Friday evening Summertime Festival of Seven Fishes dinner party we threw.  Another thing that endurance rides deplete is vitamin C and I knew I’d get a huge dose of it in a big ‘ol bowl of my Gazpacho, homemade with fresh vegetables.  I knew I had some extra shrimp from Friday as well.

Hot! Guys, I know there seems to be a lot of ingredients, but this is an amazingly easy cold soup to make, and all it requires is fresh vegetables, tomato juice and a refrigerator to let the flavors blend and meld overnight.  All the rest of the ingredients should be hanging around in your (or your special ladies) pantry someplace.

Here’s the thing.   Most of the ladies in your lives have no clue how to make a great Gazpacho like this, and furthermore, soups are not supposed to in your repertoire of skills.  So you should expect some disbelief, and testing of your integrity, because I guarantee they are going to accuse you of having bought it at the best restaurant in town and tried to take credit as yours.  After you show them the food processor or blender in the kitchen sink, you are going to get Serious WOW! PointsI guarantee it.  My Kathy absolutely begs me to make it during the summer months when local fresh vegetables are available in the farmers markets.

One thing you’ll need is a food processor.  I know you may not have one of these, but don’t panic.  I’m pretty sure you have a blender down in the game room bar–you know the thing where you make frozen margaritas.  Yeah–I know it’s pretty shocking to learn that it can also be used to make Gazpacho.  Just do it in small batches so you don’t overload or overfill it.  It’ll work just fine.

This is an absolutely terrific picnic soup, or appetizer served in glass coffee cups or just served alongside our Simple Salad and Balsamic Vinaigrette, because the colors are so vibrant and the taste is so fresh.  It is also versatile. For example, the picture I’ve included in the blog is how I served it on Friday night, with 3 freshly poached shrimp, a fantastically easy and rewarding recipe I’ll include in a future blog.  I called it a “Martini Cocktail” for obvious reasons.  You can also serve it with lump crabmeat, and I’ve even thrown strawberries marinated in balsamic vinegar on top, truly an magnificent combination of flavors.

We had 16 guests at the dinner party, and everyone drank all of their Martini.  You might say our guests got ‘drunk’ on Gazpacho.  And we allowed them to drink and drivie afterwards too!!   (HAHA!!  I’m not known for stupid jokes, but that qualifies.)  There were many, many compliments, and yes, one of my guests asked where I had bought it!!  I happily escorted her to the kitchen sink to personally witness the cleaned food processor in the sink.  Such small pleasures are wonderfully fun to experience!

Anyway, here it is.  Give it a whirl and give me some feedback on it.

My Awesome Summertime Gazpacho

Prep Time: 30 mins | Cook Time: 0 hr 0 min | Servings: 8 healthy bowls or 12 first courses | Difficulty: Easy

Ingredients:

  • 4 to 5 fresh medium tomatoes, quartered
  • 1 large cucumber, peeled, split and roughly chopped

    My Awesome Gazpacho Martini Cocktail with Perfect Poached Shrimp

  • 1 medium onion, quartered
  • 1 large red or green pepper, seeded and quartered
  • 1 4 ounces jar pimento, drained
  • 1 32 ounces jar or can high quality tomato juice
  • 1 small zucchini, rough chopped
  • 4 stalks celery, rough chopped
  • 1 large clove garlic, quartered
  • 1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil (EVOO)
  • 1/2 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1/2 to 3/4 tsp Tabasco Sauce, to taste
  • 3/4 tsp fresh ground black pepper
  • 1-1/2 tsp sea or kosher salt
  • 4 to 5 tbsp chopped fresh chives or mint

Directions:

1. Combine 1/2 of first four ingredients into food processor or blender with 1 cup of the tomato juice.

2. Purée into very small pieces and thick sauce.

3. Pour into large storage container or bowl.

4. Combine remainder of first four ingredients, plus pimento, zucchini, celery, and garlic with 1 cup tomato juice.

5. Repeat steps 2 and 3, but allow purée to be a little chunkier for texture and appearance.

6. To the puree, add and mix by hand the remaining tomato juice, olive oil, red wine vinegar, lemon juice, salt, pepper, Tabasco.

7. Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours.

8. Serve in chilled bowls and garnish with fresh chopped chives or mint.

Notes:

A. This is a terrific picnic course. It travels well and is so refreshing served in glass coffee cups or small bowls at the picnic.

B. To take this up a notch, float a tablespoon full of fresh lump crabmeat or 2 or 3 poached, chilled large shrimp on top of the gazpacho just before serving. Add the chives and it’s a great summertime lunch or dinner soup.

C. This will keep in the refrigerator for several days, and gets even better if allowed to meld flavors overnight.

D. The picture shows the Gazpacho served in a Martini Glass with 3 of the Perfect Poached Shrimp.

Source: My Hot! Guys Collection
Sent from Paprika Recipe Manager

We Caught Trey’s Marlin in the Cherry Tree

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If that title doesn’t catch your attention, well I don’t know what will.

As mentioned in this mornings blog, I had hoped Trey would share his Cherry Balsamic Glazed Grilled Marlin Recipe with me so I could share it with you.  Well, he did share the recipe going one better to tell me the whole story, and what a GREAT Hot! Guy Story it is.

On Saturday, Trey and his very wonderful lady, Ashley took a leisurely stroll down to the Strip District. For the non-Pittsburgher’s reading this–that’s the open fresh food market area known to every foodie in the city.   According to Trey, “the sun was shining and the fresh produce was in abundance.  We had no plans for the day, so we decided to spend the day cooking.”  Guys, Trey has unlocked one of the secrets to getting serious WOW! Points: Create opportunities to spend ‘unplanned’ and ‘spontaneous’ days with your lady, and something good is going to happen! Everytime! This is a critical learning point for you Hot! Guys looking to achieve ASRs (Advanced Stage Relationships) with your main squeeze:  spending ‘spontaneous’ and ‘unplanned time’ together and alone with your lady is synonymous with ‘romantic’.  There is absolutely no chance for an ASR without romance.  Don’t ask why–just accept it as ‘truth’.

So, Trey and Ashley began their unplanned day by strolling through the busy Strip buying portobello mushrooms, onions, fresh zucchini and bell peppers.  They then walked over to Mancini’s to get a nice fresh baguette for the bruschetta.  Next they made their way over to Wholey’s to purchase the freshly-trimmed Marlin filets.  Finally, Trey relates, “Oh yeah, and we had to make one more stop at the East End Growler Shop in the Strip for some Pedal Pale Ale”.

I don’t know, this ‘unplanned’ day could not have been planned any better. Wish I had been there because it sounds like fun and the cooking hasn’t even begun yet!   He wisely left out the rest of the story, but I’m speculating there was a nice ‘spontaneous’ lunch or cocktail along the way, or maybe an expresso and pastry at one of the Strip coffee shops.  They probably explored some of the shops they had not been in before to check things out.  I’m betting they were chatting about all kinds of fun things all day and then they got home and ‘planned’ their attack to prepare dinner for the night.

This is a good time for me to point out a paradox about planning on ‘unplanned days’.  When you are planning something with your lady, like what you are going to cook that night, or the proper wine to serve with dinner, or ‘what to do next’, you are now introducing the concept of ‘collaboration with’ and ‘respect for’ you ladies’ opinion and point of view about things that matter to both of you.  I know this seems easy to do, but consistently executing on these important concepts requires several skills most guys are NOT naturally blessed with.  For example, you have to first think to ask her opinion, then you have to carefully listen to her, then you might have to admit she has a great idea and then you might have to actually act on it.  Worse yet, you might have to do things together during the execution part of the plan–you know, letting her be the boss on some things, helping out, doing the dishes.   You can see how this might be tough stuff for your ego and manhood to handle.  But once you have mastered those skills–you are beginning to cross the boundaries into Hot! Guy Land.  I promise you that!

Back to Trey and Ashleys unplanned day.  He relays that “we decided to grill [the Marlin], since we already had the coals hot for the grilled vegetables.”  Even I can see Trey has the some of the Hot! Guy Skills mastered, and at least for this one day, he was the master of Hot! Guy Land.  Way to go Trey!

Here is his easy and Super Hot! recipe.  Try it.  But try the ‘unplanned day’ too.  They are both guaranteed WOW! Point getters.

Cherry Balsamic Glazed Grilled Marlin

 Prep Time: 15 mins | Cook Time: 15 mins | Servings: 2 servings | Difficulty: Easy

Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil

    Trey’s Cherry Balsamic Glazed Marlin, Grilled Vegetables, Bruschetta and Beer

  • 3 tablespoons minced shallots
  • 3/4 cup cherry preserves (i.e., Smuckers)
  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1/4 teaspoon Italian spices
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground pepper
  • 2 Marlin filets (or steaks)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

Directions:

1. Preheat grill.

2. In a medium saucepan, heat the olive oil over medium heat until hot.

3. Add the shallots and saute until softened- about 3-4 minutes.

4. Add the cherry preserves, balsamic vinegar, Italian seasonings, and the pepper.

5. Reduce heat to medium low and cook until the mixture is reduced by one-fourth. About 6-8 minutes.

6. Cool glaze. Use half the glaze to marinate the Marlin for 30 minutes.

7. Reserve 6 tbsp of glaze in small bowl.

8. Place Marlin on grill and baste each side with glaze. After 3 minutes, flip the Marlin and baste the other side and let grill for 3 minutes.

Notes:

Marlin is available almost all year long and can be purchased in filets or cut into steaks. Either one of them will work in this recipe. Adjust the cooking time for the steaks to be just a minute longer on each side. This recipe was submitted for the Hot! Guys Collection by my friend Richard (Trey) Rabinek.

Source: Hot! Guys Collection
Sent from Paprika Recipe Manager

Letters from Hot! Guys In the Trenches

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Well, it’s happening.  Some of my blog followers are sending me comments, ideas and photos of their cooking prowess.  I’m inspired by what I’ve heard and seen, and I know you will be too.  For those of you still contemplating that moment when inspiration meets physical action, I hope this blog will help make that connection a reality.

Mike D’s Salmon Over Mixed Greens and Balsamic Sauce

This weekend, Mike D sent me this photo.  He used the Salmon recipe I recently blogged (“Appreciating The Many Talents of Salmon”) and added sesame seeds to lightly cover the salmon before putting it in the oven before baking.  He also added fresh black pepper, a little cayenne and lime juice.  What a great idea!  He also added some balsamic vinigar and EVOO to the sauce.  As you can see Mike is not afraid to experiment and explore new flavors, and that makes him a Super Hot! Guy.  I’m sure that combination of spices and addition kicked my basic salmon recipe up at least one notch, if not two.  Way to go Mike! I’m going to try those additions next time I do salmon.   He also let me know he had always grilled his salmon in the past and was trying the baking method for the first time.  As you can see, he presented the salmon on a salad of mixed greens, pepper rings and fresh cheese slices.  Obviously, Mike took the basic recipe and added imagination and creativity for what looks like an amazing weekend dinner or lunch.  THAT is what this blog is all about!  While Mike was a little shy about me sharing the photo with you, but it looks perfect to me.  Wish I could have been there to share it with him.

On the same day, my friend Geoff sent me a text to let me know he had tried the same salmon recipe, but instead of baking it in the oven, he pan fried it in a cast iron skillet on the side of the outdoor grill.  Another great idea that keeps the kitchen cool while the Hot! Guy is working his magic on a perfect day for cooking outdoors.  He also told me his wife loved the salmon.  THAT too is what this blog is all about!

Trey’s Cherry Balsmic Marlin, Grilled Vegies and Bruschetta

Yesterday, I got this photo from Trey.  Cherry balsamic grilled Marlin, with grilled vegetables and bruschetta!!  Holy macheral (pun intended!), this Hot! Guy get’s it! The dish presentation alone is just spectacular, with bright and appealing colors and a variety of fresh foods superbly prepared.  I’m already begging him to send me the Marlin recipe, and when he does, (and he will!), I’ll pass it along to you.  In case you didn’t notice the East End Brewery Growler in the photo, I did.  Trey really knows how to heat things up!  He’s the real deal!  He didn’t tell me how his special lady reacted to his cooking prowess, but I know her, and I know she thinks he’s a great guy alreay, and with a dinner like that, she has to think he’s graduated to Hot!  Oh yeah!  That is what this blog is about!

Good work Hot! Guys Mike, Geoff and Trey.  You are inspiring others to give being Hot! a Shot!  Keep your ideas and photos coming, and I’ll keep sharing them!

When you other guys get the courage to send me ideas and photos, I’ll post them too.  And I’ll even post the recipes if you share them with me.

 

On the same day

The

Never Too Busy to Cook

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It’s been more than a week since I last posted a blog, but I’ve been really, really  busy.  But I’ve found time to cook all week.

Last weekend I worked with my friends Mike and Mary to help prepare  for and serve heavy hors d’oeuvres for about 80 people  celebrating the 75th birthday of a vibrant and fun lady who decided to throw her own party.   It was great fun to just be with Mike and Mary, I learned a lot of great cooking and serving ideas  from Mike who is a professional chef and from Mary who knows how to organize and properly serve that many people for a cocktail  party.  I’d post pictures of some of the great food Mike prepared and served, but I don’t want to give away Mike’s great ideas and recipes because they may be Mikes special recipes that he uses for his catering business.  All I want to say is that I tasted everything, and it was amazing.

Last night,  my friend Bill and I along with our lovely wives,  Kathy and Dusty, prepared, cooked and served  the second of two dinners the Juvenile Diabetes Auctioned off last year.  The  format was a progressive dinner that began at our 110 year old  home and then finished at Bill and Dusty’s even older home across the street.  We served a total of 16 people  a menu that included 6 courses with appropriate wine parings with a theme that was designed to celebrate  a Summertime Festival of Seven Fishes.

I’ve attached the  menu to this blog so you can get a little taste of what our guests had waiting for them when they arrived.  While Bill and I did a much of the cooking, putting on an event like this is wayyyy more than just about the shopping, prepping and the cooking.  The house needs to be prepared, the flowers need to picked from the gardens and arranged, the plating and utensils need to be  brought out and properly placed for each course and, of course, the wines need to be opened and served at exactly the right time.  And to get it all done, we were blessed with the help of many of our friends and the really great people we hired for the evening to make things go smoothly, help with serving and clean up and to generally help out doing odd things along the way.  The  hectic day began at 6 am and was not over until nearly midnight, but we had great fun and got much enjoyment from the many compliments people generously offered the entire evening.  I slept in this morning and pretty much did nothing other than the final clean up all day.  It was hard work but I had a blast.

Take a look at the Menu.  Over the next few days, I’m going to select some of the easier recipes and post them to the blog.   Be sure to notice how easy some of the recipes are to prepare, yet our guests raved about them.  That’s because  amazing complexity and layering of tastes can be achieved in many ways.  Sometimes it’s using the freshest ingredients.  Sometimes it’s planning the right accompaniments to serve with a particular recipe, and in others serving the right wine  makes the difference.   I’ll note those elements when I post the recipes.

Here’s the Menu and stay tuned for future posts for some of the recipes.

Summertime Festival of Seven Fishes

 Friday, June 22, 2012

 

Gli Antipasti–A Taste of Christmas in June

Fritto Misto di Pesce—Flash Fried Calamari and Smelts, served with lemon

Trout Afumicata alla Belgian Endive—Smoked Trout, Herbed ‘Crème Fraiche’ on Belgian Endive

Acciughe e Cipoline–Carmelized Onions with olives and anchovies

Gazpacho Martini ‘Cocktail’ with Poached Shrimp

Moletto Vino Spumante Prosecco Treviso—Motta di Livenza, Itally

I Primi

Capellini con Aragoste e Vaniglia Salsa—Angel Hair Pasta with Lobster Vanilla Sauce

Heitz Cellars Sauvignon Blanc—2009—Napa Valley, CA

I Secondi

Swordfish alla Favarella presented with Green Olive, Rosemary Buerre Blanc

Fagiolini al Pomodoro–Steamed Locally Grown Green Beans dressed with Tomato, Basil and Garlic

 

Chateau St Jean Chardonnay—2009—Belle Terre Vineyard, Sonoma, CA

Villa Antinori Chianti Classico—2008—Toscana, Italy

Insalata

Romaine Lettuce, Red Onions, Grapefruit Sections, Gala Apples with house made

Danish Bleu Balsamic Vinaigrette

Fresh Baked House Made Ciabatta

Wine Flight of Choice

I Dolci

Zabaione con Limone–Lemon Tapioca Custard

Crostata de Chocolate e Raspeberry—Fresh Raspberries, bittersweet chocolate and toasted almonds

Ricotta Aubilocche Torte—Ricotta Cheese and Apricots in pastry

Heinz Eifel Eiswein Pradikatswein—2009—Rheinhessen, Germany

Appreciating the Many Talents of Salmon

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Hot! Guys, it’s one thing to get a date with some great lady, but it’s quite another to ‘have’ a great date with her.  You can pick her up in your best weekend attire, in your freshly washed and vacuumed car and take her to the best restaurant in town, but if you aren’t ‘interesting’ and ‘engaging’, you’ll end up on the ‘boring date’ list.  In that situation, I’m thinking you already know getting the next date ain’t happening.  If you beg, you might get another shot at it, but you better perform like a rock star this time because it’s unlikely you’ll get a 3rd bite at the apple, so to speak.

So, on the assumption that your lady is going to think you are one Hot! Guy when you prepare this spectacular Salmon Steaks with Fresh Herbs recipe, let me offer some interesting material for your part of the dinner conversation.  To be interesting and engaging, you should have other material on standby because this will give you a max of 30 minutes of monologue, and I’m assuming you want the date to last a bit longer than that.  And, a one topic Hot! Guy is just not that Hot!  Sorry.

You can certainly skip to the recipe now, but you are going to miss an opportunity to make headway towards Advanced Stage Relationships (ACRs) with your main squeeze–so stay with me now!

Many Fish, But Salmon is King!

I’m not sure if salmon is the most popular fish in America, but it’s in the top 3.  Why is that?  Because it’s versatile, tastes great when properly prepared, it’s available everywhere, relatively inexpensive, and considered healthy.  I’m betting you have noticed your main squeeze orders it in restaurants all the time.  It’s almost become an American Icon.

I’ll bet you didn’t know that according to Celtic (Irish) Mythology, salmon has been frequently associated with wisdom.  According to the myths, whoever eats salmon will be granted super-powers of knowledge and respect.  Most Hot! Guys know you can never have enough knowledge and respect, although on most days my Kathy informs me I have absolutely no knowledge about anything whatsoever.  Just wait until she reads this blog–that’ll show her!

In early Welsh Mythological writings, the Salmon of Llyn Llyw is the oldest fish in Britain, and the only creature who knows the location of Mabon, one of King Arthur’s captured knights.  After speaking to many other ancient animals who do not know his whereabouts, two of King Arthur’s men are led to the Salmon of Llyn Llyw, who lets them ride his back to the walls of Mabon’s prison so they could assist in his escape.  I don’t know about you, but I’m always looking for something of mine that my Kathy has ‘put away’.  And I’ve been missing some very important things for a very long time.   Maybe if I eat enough salmon, I’ll find my long lost ‘little black book’ that Kathy ‘put away’ about 40 years ago.  Or maybe I’ll find the match for the many of the separated twins in my sock drawer. 

In Norse Mythology, after Loki tricked the blind god Hodr into killing his brother Baldr, Loki jumped into a river and transformed himself into a salmon to escape punishment from the other gods. When they held out a net to trap him he attempted to leap over it but was caught by Thor  who grabbed him by the tail with his hand, which is why the salmon’s tail is tapered.  I’m thinking Norse salmon were not as smart as Irish and Welsh salmon, because most of us already know Hot! Guys Rule # 3:  there is never an escape from the punishment we have ‘earned’ by leaping over the ‘lady gods’ in our lives, whether it be your mother, the current or former ladies in your life, your wife, or  sometimes, your daughter.   

Right about now you are thinking: ‘I need to take notes’.  Don’t bother–if you can’t remember this stuff, just make it up as you go along!  It’s mythology!  Use your imagination and create your own myths.  I do it all the time.  I even amaze myself at the stories I can fabricate when I’m under the pressure of Kathy’s not so forgiving gaze.  Just remember there is no escaping ‘earned punishment’ or a really bad lie.

If the myth stuff is not working for you, and I don’t know why it wouldn’t, then here’s some interesting facts to weave into your knowledge transfer, or to impress your main squeeze if you are the serious, rocket scientist type.

Seattle’s Pikes Market or Nova Scotia–Salmon Everywhere!

Salmon reisde  in the North Atlantic, the Pacific Ocean and now even in some of the Great Lakes.  They are born in fresh water, migrate to salt water oceans for their adult lives and then return to fresh water to spawn.  They usually, but not always, return to the same spawning grounds from where they started.  These salmon really know their way around don’t they?  (Sounds like some of the Not-So-Hot! Guys I know.)  When you eat salmon, you are getting lots of protein, omega 3 fatty acids, and vitamin D.  This last bit of information, if carefully used, can create a WOW! Point or two, because Hot! Guys are not supposed to know about nutrition–that’s the domain of women, not guys. 

Well you knew there was a recipe coming.  This is by far one of the best Salmon Recipes in my Hot! Collection, because it is fantastically easy, it is very impressive and amazingly delicious.  But here’s the thing–you need to respect salmon–it’s a delicate tasting fish that rewards simple preparations and just a little love and attention while it’s cooking.  Overcook or overspice it, and it will punish you–and you will not be able to escape this disaster!  There’s only 5 simple steps in this recipe–follow them exactly, and you’ll have one spectacular meal.

This is a baked salmon, because I’m not a fan of pan seared or grilled salmon.  I think hot coals or dry heat carmelizes the outside before the inside is properly cooked, and once you try this recipe–you may agree.  This recipe calls for salmon steaks, but you can use filets buy adjusting the cooking times accordingly downward.

A final word.  You’ll notice in the picture I’m serving my salmon with fresh-cut watermelon.  I have no reason why, but that combination is surprisingly good.  Serve this with a nice salad, a glass of Sonoma Valley sauvignon blanc, and I guarantee you’ll be rolling in Wisdom and Respect.  Try it!

Salmon Steaks with Fresh Herbs

Prep Time: 5 min | Cook Time: 15 min | Servings: 2 | Difficulty: Easy

Ingredients:

Best Ever Salmon Steaks with Fresh Herbs

  • 2 salmon steaks (8 ounces each and about 1-1/2 to 2 inches thick)
  • 2 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 green onion, sliced
  • 2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley, or 1 teaspoon dried
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh rosemary, or 1 teaspoon dried
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh basil, or 1 teaspoon dried
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic, chopped finely
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • Fresh ground pepper to taste

Directions:

1.  Place salmon in a lightly greased 8-in. square baking dish.

2.  Combine the butter, parsley, rosemary, garlic, onion, salt and pepper and lightly saute in a small pan over medium heat until vegetables are soft.

3.  Add lemon juice to mix.

4.  Pour sauce over salmon steaks and top with sliced lemon.

5.  Bake, uncovered, at 400° for 15-20 minutes or until fish flakes easily with a fork.  Do not overcook–if anything undercook it.

Notes:

This recipe works great with Halibut too!!

Nutritional Info:

Nutritional Facts 1 serving (1 each) equals 315 calories, 24 g fat (10 g saturated fat), 98 mg cholesterol, 440 mg sodium, 2 g carbohydrate, trace fiber, 23 g protein.

Source: Lou’s Hot! Guy Collection
Sent from Paprika Recipe Manager

150 Miles…then Macaroni

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Steve, Dave, Mike, Mike and Lou sporting our PwC Jerseys on the MS 150 Ride to Lake Erie

I’m an avid cyclist which means I ride a lot.  I love to ride my bikes, but I also know Hot! Guys Rule #2:  Find ways to stay in shape for the ladies in your life, because it matters, even when the ladies say it doesn’t matter.  Our  ladies frequently tell this small fib to let us know they love the inner you more than the outer you.  I’m pretty sure they are sincere about this, but wouldn’t it be easier to love a great inner guy, when the outer guy is also healthy and in good shape?  Think about it.  PS–you’ll probably live longer and healthier–certainly a good outcome all by itself.

A Real Heartbreaker–Sold to a Good Home

After many hours of negotiation, Kathy has agreed to no more than 4 ‘girlfriends’ at a time, referring unaffectionately to the number of bikes living in our basement.  She recently ‘encouraged’ me to sell my 1985 Bianchi Columbia Racer, in original pristine condition, because I had recently acquired a 5th bike.  I reluctantly sold her to a good home with an experienced rider who already loves and appreciates her natural beauty.  I’ll miss her, but I love my new full carbon Giant mountain bike–she’s a gorgeous speciman.  Kathy already claims I spend more time with my bikes than I do with her.  That is absolutely not true!  It would only be true if she let me bring my bikes into our sleeping quarters, which she refuses to allow.

This past weekend, me and several of my friends cycled 150 miles from Pittsburgh to Lake Erie to help raise money for Multiple Sclerosis.  The core of my riding group is comprised of PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) partners and staff members, and the firm I spent 36 years with before retiring a couple years ago.  As you can see from the photo, the ‘team’ is a great group of people from a wide range of age groups.  I’m currently the elder of the group, and I appreciate the small amount of deference the team affords me when the hills get steep–they drag me up the hills.  Thanks Guys!

Along with 1200 other riders, we navigated the hilly, country backroads of Western Pennsylvania and Eastern Ohio, traveling through some beautiful small towns and bountiful farmland.  We covered 75 miles on Saturday, spending the night on the grounds of gorgeous Allegheny College in Meadville, PA, and then finished the ride on Sunday when we got to Lake Erie in the town of Coneaut, Ohio.  The weather was perfect, the rest stops timely and the camaraderie was special among all the riders.

Remember Seth and Tim from one of my earlier blog posts (“My Vegan Freind, Beer Buddy…”)?  They pulled a beer keg on a trailer attached to a tandem 75 miles on day one.  Don’t worry, the keg was empty so the hot sun and the josling around did not ruin good beer.  We knew we would have an ice cold keg waiting for us when we got to the College–a significant motivator to finish the day.  And for the non-alcoholic drinkers among us, we had all kinds of recovery drinks like chocolate milk, Coke and Gatorade.  At my age, I took Gatorade, then chocolate milk, a cool shower, a change of clothes, a nap, and THEN the beer.  You  learn and respect the proper order of things as you get older.  Besides, the beer hadn’t been tapped yet.

Sunday’s Finish Line–Lake Erie

I have a really cool computer on my bike.  It tells me all kinds of things before, after and during my rides.  In case you are wondering (which you probably aren’t), the ‘team’ averaged about 16 MPH over the 2 days of riding, including nearly 5000 feet of cumulative hill climbs.  It was in the high 80’s and the wind was in our face for most of the ride.  By the end of 150 miles, my computer reported I had burned 9,513 calories.  While I drank gallons Gatorade and ate PB&J sandwiches until I couldn’t any more, my body was screaming for carbohydrates and calories on Sunday afternoon.  And while the beer helped to put a small dent in that demand, the kind of craving  I had called for a fast and furious response–my quick and easy Fresh Homemade Marinara Sauce over Macaroni. I thought about it all the way home from the ride, and planned the attack.  I rushed through a shower and change of clothes, drew a glass of red wine,  got the sauce cooking and the macroni water boiling, all in about 20 minutes.  While that was going on, I went to my ‘driveway garden’ to cut some fresh basil and parsley to add at the last minute, like the recipe calls for.  Then I went to the pantry to choose the macaroni for today.

Macaroni.  I’ll bet that’s a word you haven’t heard in awhile.   In my childhood home, if it wasn’t ‘spaghetti’, it was ‘macaroni’.   And each shape had its own name.  Ziti was ‘ziti’.  Penne was ‘penne’ and rigatoni was called ‘rigatoni’.  All of us had our favorite macaroni, and we got to choose whenever we were ‘good’.  I had a cousin who loved ‘shells’, but he was never ‘good’.  He was great at being ‘bad’, and we loved him for that because we had fun watching him do the bad stuff.  We also loved him because he never got to choose.  We did.

Nowadays, everyone calls it ‘pasta’.  I ask you:  if every length and shape of dried dough is called pasta, how can you have a favorite?  How do you know what you are getting when you see it on a restaurant menu?  Do you guess?  Is it supposed to be a surprise?   Is it like a lottery–you agree to pay for the sauce and hope to get lucky and ‘win’ your favorite?  I think they should look at the box it came in and call it by the name some italian mother gave it back in the old days.  Makes life more fun and you get to know your macaroni by first name.

So here’s the recipe.  Hot! Guys this will work out great everytime, and the beauty is it will always be a little different each time because you can make it that way.  Don’t worry I know the directions are long, but that’s because I’m giving explicit instructions so you get it right the first time, every time.  Don’t forget to taste, taste, taste as you go along and before you add any ingredients beyond what the recipe calls for.

In case you haven’t noticed, I’m giving you recipes that will help you build a repetoir of basics that you can augment in many ways to  create totally different tastes. flavors and combinations from the same basic recipe.  See the Notes in the recipe for hints.  Almost all my Hot! Guy Collection have Notes for the purpose of giving you good ideas.  But more importantly, use your own imagination to create your own meal specialties using thses basic recipes.

Fresh Homemade Marinara Sauce

 Prep Time: 45 min | Cook Time: 45 mins | Servings: 6 to 8 dinner servings | Difficulty: Easy

Ingredients:

Homemade Shrimp in Tomato Basil Cream Sauce–Oh! Baby!

  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 8 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
  • 2 (28-ounce) cans whole tomatoes (recommended: San Marzano)
  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar OR 1/2 cup red table wine, not both
  • 1/4 cup Italian parsley, fresh, chopped (or 2 tbsps of dried)
  • 1/2 cup fresh basil leaves, torn (or 3 to 4 tbsps of dried)
  • 1 to 1-1/2 tsp Sea or kosher salt, more or less to taste
  • 1/2 to 3/4 tsp fresh ground black pepper, more or less to taste
  • 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes (optional)
  • 1 lb DeCecco spaghetti or ridged cut penne pasta
  • Grated Parmesan-Reggiano cheese

Directions:

1. Heat large sauce pan over medium heat, and add olive oil.

2. Add garlic and sauté briefly-1 minute-do not let it brown.

3. Add onion and sauté until translucent and soft-about four or five minutes.

4. Place tomatoes and can juices in a large bowl and use your hands to crush the tomatoes into quarter size pieces.

5. Add the tomatoes to the pan.

6. Add the balsamic vinegar OR red wine.

7. Add salt, pepper, and pepper flakes, if using.  If using dried parsley and basil instead of fresh, add it now.

8. Simmer sauce over low to medium heat for about 25 to 30 minutes unitl some of the juices have reduced and the sauce is slightly concentrated.

9. Meanwhile, heat 8 quarts of cold water to a boil.

10. Add 2 tbsp of salt to the boiling water.

11. Add the your favorite macaroni or spaghetti and follow the directions for cooking. Do not overcook–there is nothing worse than soft, mushy pasta. It should be firm to tooth  but not hard in the middle (‘al dente’). Towards the end of the suggested cooking time, begin testing for doneness and drain in a colander when it’s done. I don’t rinse my macaroni because it removes the starch that helps the sauce stick to it.

12. When you put the macaroni or spaghetti in the boiling water, add the fresh parsley and basil to the sauce.   These fresh herbs are very delicate and you do not want to ‘cook out’ the flavors for too long. Simmer for about 3 to 5 minutes and turn off the sauce. It’s ready!!

13. When the pasta has been drained, return it to the cooking pan and add about 1 cup of the sauce to lightly coat the pasta.

14. Dish out the coated pasta into bowls or onto plates, and top the pasta with a nice ladle of sauce.

15. Garnish with fresh basil sprigs or rough chopped parsley, if you have them–if not serve the plate as is.

16. Serve with a generous spoon of the grated cheese on top.

17. See the many variations for this recipe in the Notes.

Notes:

This is a basic marinara sauce that can be the base for all kinds of interesting and delicious variations:

A. Try adding peeled shrimp for the last 10 minutes of cooking.

B. Cook, drain on paper towels, and slice Italian sausage.  Add it to the sauce for the last 10 minutes of cooking.

C. Add sliced zucchini when you add the onions.

D. Add sliced green or red peppers when you add the onions to any of the above additions for color, texture and taste.

E. For a great ‘company’ style dinner, add about peeled shrimp, 1/8 to 1/4 cup of heavy cream and another handful of chopped fresh basil to the cooked sauce for the last 10 minutes of cooking, and you now have created Shrimp in Tomato Basil Cream Sauce. That’s what is shown in the picture accompanying this recipe. It’s amazing.

E. Try anything you think will be fun and you might like.

Source: Lou’s Hot! Collection

Sent from Paprika Recipe Manager