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Chef Kt is expiring

Dear Friends,

Chef Kt is leaving Live Journal at the end of the month. I will be publishing a cookbook later this year.
Feel free to reach me at: cookingwithchefkt@gmail.com

Food that's NSFW...

...'fo reals! No, there aren't any naked dancing women, and there's no p0rn involved. This one is NSFW because of the spice levels. Let's just say that when I made it, I was glad I was home alone. Now, if you don't have any trouble with spiciness, then go right ahead and fill up your lunch bag with this. Don't say I didn't warn you.

Spicy SlawCollapse )

Like it? Love it? Want to see more? Please leave some feedback in the comments. Thanks.



Back story: My uncle went on a hunting trip to Newfoundland, Canada a few months ago. He got a six-point buck which has resulted in a freezer full of moose meat. I was visiting a few weekends ago, and I helped him empty the freezer somewhat.

Being the 4th of July, I thought it un-American to not cook burgers, so I thawed out the moose burgers from my uncle. I melted white American cheese on top and served on multi-grain hamburger buns with lettuce, tomato, and red onion.

It was quite possibly the most tastiest burger I've ever had. EVAR!!!
The moose meat has a mild flavor, milder than beef, but different than ground turkey or chicken. I'm not sure that the moose burgers didn't have some kind of seasoning already in them, as the first bite reminded me of a beef-based Italian sausage, but not quite the same.

I *highly* recommend!

In addition to the burgers, I also have a sirloin-cut steak, a rump roast, and a package of ground meat.
Let's see what else I can do with moose meat...



I have been using this technique to slice basil for quite some time. I learned the term Chiffonade last year to describe it, but for some reason I can never remember...

Sweet Bean Paste

I worked on an experimental food this weekend that came out pretty good.

Sweet Bean Paste
1 cup dry black beans and 1 cup dry pinto beans
Soak overnight.
In the morning, drain and rise.
Boil with a little salt for a long time. (30 min?)
Drain, rinse.
Put into food processor with:
2 cups tomato broth
1 small can tomato paste
1 tbsp honey
Push the button and watch it moosh.
Add 4-5 cloves of grated garlic (use microplane)

It's about the consistency of hummus and purple. Tasty!
Also, gluten-free.
I put it in some burritos, and it gets the job done.

How did yours come out? Please share in the comments!

Restaurant Week.

Last night I got a call at work from an old friend who happened to be in the city with his roommate.
"Wanna go to dinner?", he asked.
"It is Restaurant Week," I replied. "Let's pick one of those places - 10 Downing is my pick, New American with Mediterranean influence."
"We want to go to Chinatown."

So that meant that I got dragged up to Mott St. and ended up at Peking Duck House, where there is arguably the best roast duck in the States. The serving amounts to a duck burrito - a moo shu pancake, some scallions & cucumbers, and a mystery brown sauce that you smear over the pancake. Duck burrito. I made a small one to taste, and it was ok. Duck burrito. Tasty, but greasy. I guzzled tea from the under-sized white cups without handles.

I was quite satisfied with my Grand Marnier prawns and steamed broccoli with fruit mayonnaise sauce. I wanted to put the prawns in the moo shu wrap instead, but was discouraged from doing so by my dining companions. :-( No shrimpy burrito for me. I'll have to try a bona-fide Mexican place for that, perhaps.

Soy-ginger salmon.

When I go to Whole Foods, there's this ginger-soy salmon in the seafood dept that's super-yummy! It comes pre-marinaded, pop in the oven for 10-12 minutes - Yum! The filets still have the skin on them, which becomes a healthy treat for my dog.

I've been looking for recipe that closely approximates what I've been buying. Let's see if this one comes close..
Gingered SalmonCollapse )
I'm planning to give it a try next week. Let me know how yours turns out!


If you or someone you know has a compulsive overeating problem, please visit www.oa.org.


Sammich WIN

So I had this lamb roast in my fridge that I put up to marinade in the way that I marinade lamb when I'm not making schwarma - which is to say, soaking in apple cider vinegar, salt, pepper, garlic, parsley, sage, rosemary, and thyme. I was worried that I had left it in there too long, and I finally got around to cooking it last night.

I learned 2 things in this venture:
1. Everyone should own a digital meat thermometer. It's truly awesome.
2. I am a very lucky chef.

The roast was so tender that I could cut it with a butter knife. Win!!

The intent with this hunk 'o meat was to slice and chill for sammiches for lunch at work this week. (well, it's Wednesday - guess I'm eating lamb for awhile...) I ran out of time and energy last night to assemble sammiches, so I put a few slices in a container with some tzatziki sauce and brought that for lunch. Very tasty.

Tonight, I have achieved sammich Win:
For your consideration, cold lamb with mint pesto, red onion, herb'd goat cheese, pickled red pepper, lettuce, tomato, and tzatziki sauce on a challah roll.

The mint pesto I made myself. Please comment if you are interested in reading how to make it.


Herb'd Octopus

I was cleaning out my fridge this weekend and came upon some frozen octopus. It wasn't a whole octopus, but several big frozen arms that had been de-tentacle'd, to my disappointment. On the back of the package was a recipe for cooking, so I decided to try it out. Or rather, use it as a guideline.

So here's what I did, in pictures from my BlackBerry...


I cut it up into bite-sized pieces. The texture was a little like those big scallops, and it didn't smell fishy at all.

Cook for 10 minutes3-5 minutes:

The direction on the package said to sauté in olive oil for 10 minutes. This is *wrong*! Over-cooking your octopus will result in a hard-to-chew rubbery texture that will suck. So cook for 3-5 min.

Add herbs:

Add 2 chopped onions, garlic, basil, parsley, salt, pepper, and a squirt of lemon juice. You don't have to wait to add them in. Swish these things around. Be careful not to over-cook the octopus. It will get rubbery. Total cooking time should be less than 10 min or until the octopus is just barely cooked. You can also add a splash of dry white wine, but not too much. I added some diced tomatoes shortly before it was ready because I like tomatoes.


I steamed some string beans and added a pat of butter.

It was tasty, but the octopus required some advanced chewing that was a little difficult for me.
I had all 4 of my wisdom teeth extracted a little over 2 weeks ago, and it's still hard to eat foods with certain textures.


Chef Kt wins at making a Bread.

This weekend, I won a bread contest in which I had three loaves entered.
The winning loaf was my Honey-Oat-Wheaty Bread.
The prize was an apron.

Please comment if interested in the recipe/technique used. There were ingredients assembled without measurements, so is mostly a technique.


Note to self

Dear Chef Kt,

When you are preparing liver chips, always remember to spray the foil with Pam™ before adding the mixture to bake. Then you won't spend an hour peeling tin foil from the backside of the chips.


Today's foody is for dogs. It's real easy and always a crowd-pleaser. This preparation is also safe for cats.
Liver Chips for dogsCollapse )


Happy Holidays from Chef Kt

Happy Holidays everyone!
Christmas, Hanukkah, Yule, Decemberween - whatever holiday you celebrate, it certainly is the season for gathering with friends, cookies, sharing gifts, and even spending time with relatives.

I made some herbal-infused olive oils to give as small gifts, and I wanted to share how to do it.
You'll need:
1 bottle with airtight lid (the oil stays better longer in coloured glass, but it looks better in clear glass)
2 cloves fresh garlic
fresh rosemary
fresh basil
fresh thyme
1-2 dried hot peppers (with seeds)
Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO)

In the dry bottle, put in the herbs - you'll need 1 or 2 intact sprigs and 2-3 spigs worth of the leaves.
Add the dried pepper - I like to break off the top and shake out all the seeds - they have their own flavour. Then I break the pepper in half and add that in.
Coarsely chop up both cloves of garlic and put that in the bottle.

Add the EVOO too fill the bottle, just a smidge from the top. Seal the lid tightly and shake to evenly distribute the herbs inside. Store in a dark pantry 'till ready for gifting. Make the bottle festive by decorating with ribbons and a bow. Make a great gift and looks pretty, too.

I suggest letting the fresh herbs sit in the oil for a minimum of 1-2 weeks. This is something that's easy to prepare well in advance. Makes a great decoration or dipping oil.

All the best for a joyful holiday season and a Happy New Year!

~Chef Kt.

Chef Kt goes to Food Network?

It's a big jump - I'm working on my application for the Next Food Network Star. I'm paging through this application. 30 original recipes!?!!?!? It says you'll need to pull 'em out of your pocket if selected.

It's a pretty awesome ambition... Let's see what happens next. If you've had a foody that I've made that was really excellent, let me know so I can include it in my arsenal of cookery.

I have to submit the application by 11/14, along with a short video. I have no idea how I'm going to get the video part done. Maybe I can hijack get some help with the video studio at work one evening after the dailies close.

BBQ Salad Special

When I throw a party, I like to have a nice spread of food. Nobody walks away hungry. Today I present to you some salads from a recent soiree. I need to write them down before I forget how I made them. They are sure to please even the crankiest of GI tracts.
Gluten-Free Noodle SaladCollapse )
2-Bean SaladCollapse )

treats for kitty!

I miss having a cat. I used to make my own cat treats back in the day, and I often cook for my dog.

I came across this recipe for yummy kitty treats:
Tasty Tuna TreatsCollapse )


Find recipes by mood?

If I didn't see it for myself, I wouldn't have believed it.
Go check this out. It searches for recipes by mood, ingredient, genre, and dish. Awesome!!

Coffee Time!

After a bit of a hiatus, I bring to you some great coffee.

You may remember a previous post about my friend Marion at the Hualalai Mauka estate in Hawaii and the wonderful Kona that is grown there. The coffee shop where my friend works has teamed up with them for some really great java. The green coffee beans are shipped to the shop directly where they are artsianally roasted. The result is something that you might not drink every day.

So I found myself at the coffee shop:

...staring at one of these:

What is this thing? It's a CONA extractor. Vacuum-extracted coffee has a completely different flavour than your run-of-the-mill auto-drip units. Some consider it to be the best method to make coffee. Click the link to see how it works.

It was pretty fabulous. I don't think I've ever been able to discern the flavours in beans like that before. I highly, highly recommend. Take a trip down to Lambertville, NJ and check it out for yourself!



One thing I love is to find a recipe that copies the dish at a restaurant somewhere. Today, I present to you:
Macaroni Grill Pesto and Garlic ShrimpCollapse )


Gluten-free, sugar-free Rhubarb goody

This recipe comes from my friend Lisa, who has cooked in the organic kitchen of D Acres. Rhubarb on its own is kind of bitter, so add sweeter fruits, like bananas or strawberries for a pleasing favourite.

Rhubarb MuffintopsCollapse )

Something different.

This week's recipe will make your dog jealous.
here's whyCollapse )

A Foodie event this week.

Thursday morning, I will attempt to get up early and take a much earlier train for the purpose of attending a Foodie event at Grand Central Market in the morning before work. What could make me rise so early?


I first read about this healthy treat in this blog. It sounded interesting, so I used my Google-fu skillz and stumbled across an event where the Icelandic man who makes the locally-produced skyr would be at one of the foody vendors at the train station.

No fat, no sugar - you know you want it. They have several fruit varieties in addition to the "milk-flavoured" plain style.

Thusday, April 25 - 7:30am to 10:30am at Murray's Cheese, Grand Central Market.

ethnic foodies

I'm half Polish (mother's side) and half Italian (father's side). My ancestors are from the part of Poland that had fuzzy borders throughout history; sometimes Poland, sometimes the Ukraine, though the town names were always the same.

One of my childhood memories is going to visit my Polish grandmother, who recently passed in December. She was part of a group of ladies who used to make pieroghi in the church basement. They were good. Like, epic good. They'd sell these guys at the church bazaar for years and made lots of money over time. They built a new school with the money. Four of my 18 cousins have attended school there.

But anyway...

Friday night found me in the East Village with a hankering for old timey foodies, so I headed over to 2nd Ave. Veselka is Ukrainian, but the flavours are the precisely what I remember from my childhood. It's a 24-hour diner on the corner of 9 St, and they pride themselves on being open 365 days a year. I've never had anything bad there. Weird, yes - bad, NO. If you find yourself in the neighbourhood, go check it out. The service is fast and friendly, and it's reasonably priced. If you go, please share your experience with us here.

This time, I ordered the seasonal delight - pieroghi with goat cheese and arugula, boiled, not fried -with applesauce. I was far from disappointed. The flavour was tremendous! The arugula cut the sometimes strong flavour of the goat cheese, and the applesauce had just enough sweetness to carry a delightful melody in your mouth. So good!! :-) I hope they keep this variety around for awhile.

In addition to goat cheese goodness, they also offer sauerkraut & mushroom, sweet potato, "regular" (potato), cheese, and a few others. I remember enjoying prune pieroghi at Christmas time at Grandma's house years ago... good stuff!

I tried making these things once upon a time while I was in College, but the results were disastrous. Maybe I should try again soon. Unfortunately, Grandma is no longer around to teach me so I need to see out alternate mentoring...

Poland, cut for sizeCollapse )


For people with food allergies, I am pleased to present:
Seasame Noodles (made with brown rice pastas)Collapse )


mmm... Hot Pockets!

Last night I had an opportunity to dine at Le Petit Auberge. I had an avocado appetizer, which amounted to half a sliced avocado on a plate with creamy vinaigrette dressing and roasted red pepper strips. The entree was poached salmon with a yummy brown sauce, roasted potatoes, and green beans - just plain and steamed, no seasonings. There was enough sauce left over from the fish to smear the veggies in. It was quite good. Dessert was peach melba. Heavy on the ice cream, light on the peach; I was a wee bit disappointed. I'd still recommend to anyone who happens to find themselves in the area of 28th and Lexington.

In the spirit of last night's meal, I present to you something yummy and easy-peasy:
Salmon Hot PocketsCollapse )

As always, please comment with feedback. If you've made this, please comment with how it turned out and any experiences you had in preparation that you'd like to share.


Lay-Zee cooker

Some of the feedback I've received about this blog suggested posting something a little less time and labour-intensive. So with that in mind, I present to you:
lazy-day Peanut noodle salad.

Recipe behind the cut in case you didn't want to do the clicky thing on the linkCollapse )

I am interested in receiving feedback so that I can write posts that will be most useful to my readers and geared towards a diversity of tastes.

the new hotness

I regret to inform you that the wild onions went bad. Between 2 jobs and other things last week, there just wasn't enough time to cook, so tonight I present to you the new hotness!


Lamb is my red meat of choice. Why, you ask - I'll tell ya. Anyone can grill up a steak or make a pot roast or pork chops, but it really takes a certain skill to draw out the character and flavour of lamb. To make a lamb roast you can cut with a butter knife - that's real talent. Many folks consider it to be gamey, and I strongly disagree; you just need to learn how to cook it the right way.

Here is one method that I'll share with you that has worked really well for me. It has more of a Middle-Eastern feel to it and works well in all seasons. This preparation was extremely popular at my Holiday party in December. My friend Mark asked me if I had marinaded it and, after responding yes, he proclaimed that "it worked". It tasted like gyro meat that time.

When I go to Costco, I generally pick up a smallish boneless lamb roast. They're generally all big hunks of meat in the cooler, so I look for the smallest one. It's generally 4-5 lbs and costs in the neighbourhood of $15, about $3 a lb or so. It freezes well, and late last week I pulled mine out of the freezer for thawing.

Whatever the preparation, the marinade I use for this style is fairly consistent: garlic, EVOO, cardamom, cumin, crushed red pepper, salt, pepper, balsamic vinegar, lemon juice.

I can't say enough great things about garlic. om nom nom nom nom...

So I take the hunk of meat out and I cut it up in to 1" chunks (about bite-size) and deposit them into a plastic storage container that has a lid. I take out my trusty salt grinder and thoroughly coat the meat in salt. The salt draws out the moisture and enhances the flavour, and I think is part of the trick to taking the gaminess away from the meat.
About SaltCollapse )

So I grind salt over the meat chunks and mix it in pretty good. I might need 3 or 4 rounds of salting the surface to get enough in. People may disagree on how much is "enough": after you make this 2 or 3 times, you'll know how much is "enough" for you. Use more than you think you need, but not that much more.

I follow up the salt grinder with my good pepper grinder. I use about a tablespoon fresh ground pepper, after which I add about a teaspoon of crushed red pepper flakes. Mix all that up.

Then add the garlic. I buy my garlic in the big tubs at Costco. I go through one of those in about 2 months in my apartment, as my roommate is more of a garlic lover than I am. It keeps the Vampires away.

Tonight I used about 6 tablespoons minced garlic from my garlic jar. Good times! Mix it in.
Then add about a cup of EVOO and a cup of balsamic. This might seem like a lot, but when you mix it all together, the meat absorbs a lot of this. I also put in a good long squirt of lemon juice, though tonight I had to use lime juice because I was out of lemon. I always get the juice that comes in the plastic fruits. I never ever use lemon or lime juice that is made from concentrate. It seems blasphemous to me. (though I am very curious about these new crystallized citrus packets that have recently come out)

So mix up the liquids into your cubed meat, and now time for the stinky spices! Get out the cardamom. I added about a tablespoon and a half tonight. Get out the cumin - I used the same amount. Again, once you've made this, determine what is "enough" for your taste buds. The cardamom is a pivotal spice in this recipe. Don't even think about attempting this without it. You'll be very sorry.

Mix! Mix! Mix! It should have a fragrant aroma. Make sure all the bits of meat are covered on all sides. If it looks like you need a little more marinade, add a little more of everything, including salt and especially the balsamic and the EVOO.

Finally, put the lid on and stick it in the fridge. You will need to let it sit for a week. No shit - I just said a week! A week for the tastiest lamb you'll ever have. Take out the container about every other day and let it warm up for about 5 minutes (so the oil becomes liquid) and mix up the marinade mixture. Put it back in the fridge...

It took me about 20 minutes to cut up my roast and prep the marinade. It will take at least 5 days for the meat to absorb all the flavours from the spices and seasonings. I wouldn't leave it in there longer than 8 or 9 days. I've found that about 7 days gives it the most robust flavour.

Yeah, so in a week, I'll pull out my lamb, put it on kebab skewers, and grill it on my gas stove using my indoor stovetop grilling thing that fits over the burners. It'll take about 20 min to cook - turn it every 5 min.

In the summer, I like to serve this with taboule salad. In the winter, maybe I'll serve it with a rice pilaf or some other hot accompaniment. This time around, I might go and get some hearty semolina long rolls and make it into a hot sammich. I'd put lettuce and tomato on the sammich to go with the meat.

One more thing I get at Costco that goes well with this preparation is a big tub of tzatzaki sauce. Sure, I can make this myself - have in the past and turned out GREAT - but sometimes I just don't have all the ingredients for it. Maybe I'll post that preparation in a future edition.

Enjoy - please post the results of your efforts, should you be bold and try it at home, and as always - feel free to comment or question any part of the preparation. See you next time!


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I received a box from Hawaii today!

My friend Marian at the Hualalai Mauka Coffee Company sent me a few pounds of freshly roasted Kona from her estate on the Big Island. I definitely recommend their coffee to everyone that appreciates a good brew in the morning.

What are some of your favourite coffee varieties? I happen to like Kona, Sumatran, and Jamaican Blue.
Just like wines, coffee flavours are also affected by growing conditions such as climate, rainfall, soil quality, and sunlight, to name a few. I've found that different regional varieties have subtle nuances in the taste, as with any fine wine. It's fun to try different kinds!

How do you make your coffee? Expert barristas may argue that the best method is the vacuum extraction to achieve full flavour.

I have three different coffee-brew systems that I use, depending on my mood and the kind of coffee I'm making. For the first cup as I dash out the door, I use my Melitta javapod machine. This is one of those pod-brewers that makes one cup at a time. I really hate cleaning the thing, but it's kind of space-age looking and green, so it goes well in my monochromatic kitchen, where many things are green! (Note, the green colour has been discontinued for a number of years, I think they only make black and white now -maybe red if you're lucky. Senseo makes royal blue and red pod machines that are also quite good.) It's real good for a quick cup if you're only one person. I find the quality to be about mid-range, and it fits my needs in the morning.

When I have multiple people over (as in leftovers from a party the night before), I use my Farberware electric percolator. It keeps the coffee nice and hot, while at the same time brewing about as fast as an auto-drip machine would. It is a somewhat traditional method of brewing.

Finally, I have a little green French press unit that I use for special blends, or when I'm feeling classy. This one is also a royal pain to clean, but you have more precise control over the brewing. My friend penthilisea says that the optimal time for French press brewing is 2 minutes, 38 seconds. I am interested to hear more by way of the press, as I'm certainly no expert in this area.

Please share any information or experiences you've had with specialty coffees. I'm interested to hear them.


Wild onions

While at my mother's this weekend, I picked about a pound of wild onions from her yard. They're stinking up my kitchen, so the challenge this week is finding a way to use them in something tasty.

Stay tooned for a forthcoming foody...