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Saturday, December 31, 2011

HAPPY NEW YEAR

To many who read this blog it is already 2012.  I want to take a moment to thank all of you who read the blog and wish each of you a very Happy and Prosperous 2012! 

Let me know what you like in the blog and what I can do to make it better.  If you have questions, or need recipes let me know. I will do my best to help.

Thank you again for a great 2011 and may we  all enjoy peace and happiness in 2012.

Friday, December 30, 2011

New way to order DAVIS DUST

For those who have written and emailed me about DAVIS DUST there is a new way to order.  I added an order form on the website. Just go to http://vegaswes.com/DAVIS_DUST.html and fill out the form. In the comment section let me know when you want the dust sent. If you live in the Las Vegas Metro area I can also deliver it to you. 

SPECIAL OFFER FOR READERS - Tell me you saw this on the Blog ( you must name the Blog) and you can get a $1.00 discount.

Here is what some have said after trying the DUST

"We tried it on fish and it was excellent!"

"I used it on my steaks and they were out of this world!  I can't wait to try it on chicken"

"My husband used on his vegetarian stir fry with tofu.  It was wonderful!!  I even enjoyed the tofu!!"

"Wow this chicken is great!"

So give it a try.  I am sure you will like it.  As I tell people when I demonstrate the rub it is good on everything except ice cream.   You can use DAVIS DUST as a dry rub or wet rub ( just mix with olive oil) and as seasoning for sauteing and frying as well as for table seasoning too.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

BAKED BRIE

Yesterday I made reference to Baked Brie.  I had a reader ask me how to do that. So here is a simple but elegant way to serve Baked Brie

First buy good Brie. It is the main attraction so don’t skimp.  Next but some frozen pastry sheets. Let them thaw out overnight in the fridge.  The dough has to be completely thawed when you start.  20 minutes before you are ready put the Brie in the freezer so it gets hard enough to work with.  When you are ready, lay the puff pastry sheets on a lightly floured board. If there are any tears or holes just fix by pushing the dough together.

 Take the Brie out of the freezer and unwrap it.  Place in the center of the pastry sheet.  Take a sharp serrated knife and trim the top of the rind off the Brie.  The rind is bitter and this allows the topping to set on the cheese.   Now for the topping. Use one of these or make your own.

  1. Cranberry and Rosemary Syrup.
  2. Chopped nuts with Honey
  3. Any good fig jam or preserve
  4. Orange Marmalade.
These are only suggestions.

Once that is done, fold the corners of the pastry over the top and pull the lose ends up.  You can make a “Beggars Purse” by slight twisting the ends and corner that you pulled up and then using a straight piece of dough to make a bow tie. Use a spatula to lift the package on to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.  Once that is done, brush the entire top with an egg wash.  Bake in a 375-degree oven until the top is golden brown.    Serve with good crackers or baguette rounds.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Entertaining for New Year's Eve

I know many people will have guests over for the New Year.  Whether it is a cocktail party or an afternoon brunch most will have some Appetizers.  I have some suggestions that may help.

Cocktail Parties - We have all been to one of these where the only food was chips and nuts.  Not a good idea when people are consuming alcohol. At the same time you want to be able to spend time with your friends and not be a short order cook.  Try some of these.

Stuffed Mushrooms - some time to prepare but you can have some done ahead and another pan in the fridge ready.  I use a hot sausage combined with the stems and bread crumbs. If you would like recipe just leave a comment below and I will post.

Cheese Straws - easy make ahead food that people love

Good Cheese - Sharp Cheddar, Stilton Blue and baked Brie -  all great choices and ready when the guests arrive with no fuss.. But do use a great cracker or small baguette rounds.

For Brunch -  Try my Spinach Quiche - serve it at room temp in small slices on a serving plate. Or use a small muffin tin and make mine quiches,. 

French Onion Soup - ready ahead and served as they sit down.  It holds heat well and frees up your time.

Deviled Eggs instead of a hot egg dish like omelets can be a great switch.  If you like add some Caviar to some of the eggs.

Small red potatoes - boiled with the skin on cut in half and then served with some sour cream and Caviar can also work

Salad - a field green salad with nuts and cranberries served with a Balsamic Vinaigrette is a great addition to a brunch.

These are just a few ideas that will let you have a party without spending extra time in the kitchen while your guests are waiting.

So what are your ideas?

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Tired of Turkey?

I had a great Christmas Dinner with friends.  But the next day I was full of turkey and needed something a little different.  So I made a Pizza. A Great Pepperoni Pizza!  Just right for those winter days when all of the mashed potatoes, gravy and stuffing is making you feel - well stuffed!  Here is the quick recipe.  I had all these in my pantry so it was easy.

Crust

1 package yeast
1 tablespoon sugar
1 cup of warm water
3 cups flour
1 tablespoon salt
1 tablespoon olive oil.

Put the yeast and sugar in the water to dissolve and get foamy.  That will take about 10 minutes to proof the yeast. If it is not foamy after 10 minutes your yeast is dead.  Start over. The water should be about 100 degrees - not too hot or it will kill the yeast.

Put the flour and salt in your mixer and stir to combine.  Add the yeast mixture and the Olive Oil.  mix on low speed until it comes together.  Then need for 7 - 10 minutes.  Put the dough in an oiled bowl and turn to cover the dough with oil.  Cover with a towel and let raise until doubled in size.  Punch down and kneed slightly to get the air out.  Depending on the size Pizza you want, you can cut the dough in half or use the whole batch.  I use the bottom of my large spring form pan - just right for one or two people.  Or a Half sheet pan for larger pizza.

Oven temp --- convection 375   Regular Oven  400  preheat oven

Spread the dough out and top with your favorite pasta sauce, then cover with cheese and add the pepperoni or other toppings.  Cook for 15 - 20 minutes.    Enjoy!

Friday, December 23, 2011

Happy Holidays

A very special thank you to all who have used this Blog!!  I will be taking a few days off for the Christmas Holiday.  Regular posts will resume on December 27.

I wish you all a Very Merry Christmas - Happy Hanukkah - and Happy Kwanzaa!

Aunt B reminds you not drink and drive. She wants you back here reading the blog!!

Thanks!!

Wes

PS - you can of course get DUSTED with DAVIS DUST  - that's legal and it won't harm you or others!! ;o)

Thursday, December 22, 2011

French Toast

I made French Toast today with the Sourdough bread that I baked the other day.  Sourdough made at home does get stale quicker than other breads.  However it makes a great French Toast.  Here is my recipe

2 eggs
1 teaspoon of sugar
1 teaspoon of Saigon Cinnamon
1 cup of milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla

Mix the sugar, cinnamon  and milk and then add the eggs.  Whisk until it is all combined and then add the vanilla.   It will look at little different due to the spice but it cooks the same and is much better.  Dip the bread in the mix and cook in a non stick pan.  Serve with warm Maple Syrup. 

This is great with any day old bread. 

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Good bread

I made my first loaves of sourdough.  I must say the hardest part is the time.  You do have to be patient. However it is worth the time needed.  I encourage you to try it.  I am making more tomorrow as gifts and trying so variations.  One is an overnight version that promises a more tangy bread. I can hardly wait!!

Stay tuned!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Sourdough Bread

I got my Christmas present early!  I ordered some sourdough starter and it arrived yesterday. I will let you know how it goes over the next few days.  I hope to have some sourdough breads to give as part of my Christmas presents this week.

While I did order my starter, you can also create your own.  It is easy and just take some time and patience. I will have recipes tomorrow.  Right now I have to check on my starter and feed it!

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Great Turnout!

Thanks to all those who showed up at the DUST party today!  We had some great people who enjoyed the food.  Be sure to let me know if you want any DAVIS DUST - you can email me and I will respond my email address is in this line - just eliminate the spaces vegas wes @ gmail . com

TODAY IS THE DAY! GET DUSTED!!

Today is the day to get DUSTED!  Now before anyone thinks I am promoting drugs, I mean DAVIS DUST my seasoning.  Today I am doing a Cookbook Party and premiering DAVIS DUST.  Come by the Williams Sonoma in The District at Green Valley  Ranch. AT NOON I will be sharing some recipes from my cookbook and you can get a free sample of DAVIS DUST.  Those who come by will also get a coupon for $1.00 off the cookbook and special pricing on DAVIS DUST.   (By the way - DAVIS DUST makes a great stocking stuffer for anyone who cooks - just saying..)

I hope to see you there!

Friday, December 16, 2011

Saturday Sous Chef and a Guest Chef!

Saturday at Williams Sonoma in The District at Green Valley Ranch we have our last Sous Chef class with a twist!  We have a guest Chef who will be showing you how to set up a Holiday Buffet in conjunction with the Sous Chef Class.  Drop by!!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Kitchen Tips

I was reminded about some of the tips I learned the other day when I had one of those "OOPS!" moment in the kitchen.  Every good cook has their time when they forget something or burn something etc.  How you turn an OOPS into to an AWE is important.  Here are some of my oops that turned out alright.

1. Scorched food.  Nothing tastes or smells worse that food that is scorched.  I forgot about a pot of soup and went back just in time to see it erupt on the stove.   When that happens, DO NOT stir it!  Instead take it off the heat and let it cool for a moment.  Then pour the soup into another pan. If you are lucky, the scorch will stay in the pan and the rest will be fine.  UNLESS you STIR it!

2. Broken Sauce or Gravy - If you are making a Hollandaise Sauce and it sets too long or gets too hot the Sauce will "break" - separate.  If that happens whisk a whole egg into the sauce.  It will fix it right up and you can serve it - quickly!  On gravy, if it is too thin you can always use a slurry of Cornstarch and water.  Whisk that in and bring to a boil

3. Your pasta sauce is too acidic or sour - add a little sugar.

Those are only a few.  I have a lot more that I have "discovered'!  We all learn by our mistakes  - I hope these help.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Quick Reminder

SUNDAY DECEMBER 18, 2011  12 NOON - Williams Sonoma in The District at Green Valley Ranch - join me for my Guest Chef Appearance. I will be sharing recipes from my cookbook and it is the release date for DAVIS DUST.  I will have some great food to share, discount coupons for my book and free samples of DAVIS DUST.

Hope to see you there!

Monday, December 12, 2011

Cold Winter Day Remedy

We are having a cold winter day here in the desert.  So to warm things up I made my special Corn Bread.  It is very easy - I use a mix for Corn Muffins or Corn Bread.  It is a small batch - just perfect to go with a big pot of Chili! Here is what I do.

1/2 can of cream Corn
1 7 oz can of diced green chillies
1 cup of shredded Cheddar Cheese
1 Package of Corn Bread mix - about 7 oz dry weight
1 egg slightly beaten

Mix all of the ingredients together. If the batter is dry then add milk a tablespoon at a time until the batter is the consistency you want.  Pour into a greased 8 inch pan and bake at 400 for 25 - 30 minutes.

Let it cool before cutting.  Enjoy!!

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Class On Sunday

This Sunday I will be conducting a class on Holiday Feasts.  Here are some of the Menu Items I will  be cooking.

Beef Tenderloin
Carrot and Ginger Soup
Broccoli  and Blue Cheese Gratin
Potato Apple Kugel

Drop by!!  12 Noon Williams Sonoma in The District in Green Valley

Friday, December 9, 2011

Holidays are Hectic times!!

Sorry for the last few days - too much to do and too little time.  If this sounds familiar I may be able to help.  If you have cookies to bake and other treats to make for parties or work gatherings; I always try to plan out the cooking and baking schedule so a friend can help.  Yesterday a good friend came over and we baked cookies. LOTS of cookies.  Instead of doing just a single batch we did double batches and worked in tandem to bake and decorate.  By the time she left we had baked about 20 dozen cookies.  She had her work done for all the gifts she wanted to give.  Now she can package and deliver them early and have more time for other activities.  We had both of the Kitchen Aid Stand mixers going making dough. So at one time we could make 3 batches of cookies. We did the cookies that needed to chill first and put them in the refrigerator while we made the drop cookies. It worked like a charm! My oven can bake three dozen at time. (We used the convection setting to help speed up the process.)

With a little planning and a place big enough to work, you can produce a lot of cookies or cakes or whatever you need to make those home made gifts. Having a friend help makes it easier!!

Now if you have a small kitchen  then do one type of cooking at a time. For example - Make three batches of sugar cookie dough and warp each one in plastic. I suggest rolling the dough into a log and then wrapping it.  That way you can slice cookies rather rolling them out.  The dough will keep for up to three days or can be frozen until you can work on it. If you want to roll it out and use cookie cutters, then form into a disk and the wrap. You can also make drop cookie dough and refrigerate it. The biggest mess is making the dough,  if you have some ready then you can pull it out and make fresh cookies.

That is a few ideas,  I hope they help in this hectic time.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Great Pork Roast recipe

I had a hectic day!  I am glad I used this recipe so dinner was ready when I got home!

I cooked this in the Cuisinart Multi-Cooker

 4 -5 pound pork roast
3 oz Orange Juice
1/2 cup of good wine - I used a white Zin but any white wine would do
1 onion - sliced
8 cloves of garlic
4 pieces of bacon

Salt and Pepper the roast on all sides.  Pour the wine and Orange Juice into the cooker.  Add half of the onions and put the roast on top of the onions. Add the rest of the onions. Cut the garlic cloves in half and sprinkle on the roast and in the cooker.  Place the bacon over the roast.  Turn cooker on HIGH for 4 hours.

After four hours the roast should be falling apart tender.  If not cook a little longer.  I had this with some applesauce, cottage fries and green beans.  Tasty!!

Monday, December 5, 2011

QUESTIONS FROM READERS AND CONSUMERS

This week I received a lot of questions about omelets.  I have covered some issues about this in earlier posts but thought it would be good to update new readers too.

At the recent class I asked how many people had trouble with omelets.  Over 80% raised their hands. One of the most common mistakes that people make with omelets is to add milk or cream to the eggs.  That may be good for scrambled eggs ( I only add it near the end - I will explain that in another post) but for an omelet is a bad idea.  I add a little water. Water creates steam which makes for a fluffy light omelet.  Milk and cream do not. So add about teaspoon of water for three eggs and whisk it in.  When you do you will see that egg mixture gets frothy and light.  

The other issue is temperature. Eggs are a delicate protein. Treat them gently. If your pan is screaming hot they will burn and turn dark brown.  NOT GOOD!  Also as the eggs set, lift the edges of the eggs and let the uncooked eggs run underneath. This creates layers and helps the omelet to rise in the oven. A really good omelet is finished in the oven under the broiler. Don't try to cook it completely on the stove as the bottom will burn and your filling may not get cooked or melted as intended.  Add your ingredients before you put the pan under the broiler. Watch the time under the broiler as it may be hotter than you think.  When the omelet is puffy and the filing is hot it is done.  Remember that there is residual heat so take it out sooner rather than later.  You can always put back under the heat but you cannot take the heat out once it has gone too far.

That is just a few things you can do make a really good omelet. So get your whisk and see what you can do. A little practice and you can make omelets like a pro.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

GREAT CLASS!!

We  had an awesome class today!  The Panettone Stratta ( Bread Pudding) was off the hook! And the home made sausage was super  I added some grated Apple to the sausage and it make a lot of difference.  So here is the Schedule for the rest of December

Dec 11 - The Feast  12noon -

Dec 17 - Sous Chef and Guest Chef.  - Prime Rib  and Holiday Buffets - Chef Greg joins me.

Dec 18 - My Day to be the Guest Chef - recipes from my cookbook and DAVIS DUST premier party!

So come on down and join us!!

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Cooking class Sunday

On Sunday I will be conducting a Cooking Class at Williams Sonoma.  Our topic will be Christmas Breakfast/Brunch.  Some of the recipes I will demonstrate are:

Panettone Strata

Homemade Sausage

Egg Nog Waffles

So drop by and say hello!

Friday, December 2, 2011

Hot Chocolate or Hot Cocoa?

There is a difference between Hot Chocolate and Hot Cocoa.  Hot Chocolate is made with real chocolate that has been shaved and then melted into the milk.  Hot Cocoa is made with Cocoa powder. Both are very enjoyable!  If you have never tried "Hot Chocolate" stop by any Williams Sonoma this season.  They are usually setting out samples of Hot Chocolate to try. 

If you want to make Hot Cocoa there is trick that will make it easier.  First make sure you have a quality Cocoa Powder.  Most recipes will have a pinch of salt.  Mix the Sugar, Salt and Cocoa Powder together and then add a small amount of hot water to make a paste.  When you do this is much easier to add the hot milk and have a smooth blended drink.

Stay Warm!!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Food Safety

Someone asked me how long they should keep the turkey from Thanksgiving.  Here is what several food safety  experts say.

1. No longer than three days - it is best to cut the meat from the carcase and either freeze or use it within 3 days. Every time you take the bird out to slice some more meat, the bird warms a bit.  So you are giving Bactria an opportunity to grow.

2. Dressing/Stuffing = two day max.  After that freeze or toss.  Do not keep dressing anywhere but the fridge. Also - do not add to the dressing.  That can introduce new bacteria to the dressing.  BAD IDEA!

3. Fresh Cranberries can be frozen. Cranberry Sauce can be kept for up to five days.

So be careful - it is easy to forget what to do.