It’s the shame that makes it taste so good…

guilty pleasure food

People who love to cook, and Chef’s and professional cooks especially, know that we’re judged by what we eat, or at least my what we ADMIT we eat. ūüėČ

be-honest-is-this-too-much-lettuce-because-bacon-7079897Based on the types of memes that readers share on my Facebook pages, it seems like most folks think I live solely on bacon and brisket, and little else. Nothing could be further from the truth. As a middle-aged chef, who wants to be an OLD chef, I don’t eat bacon nearly as often as I post about it which, in a strange way, seems to make it taste better the few times a month that I indulge.

Brisket, I smoke maybe 5-6 a year, which makes upwards of 30 meals for my family of three.

Another thing that those of us who excessively (or annoyingly) post recipes and photos of our better creations can attest to, it that we don’t get invited over for dinner much.

By the way…our pride is our downfall, as our friends and family tend to think that they can’t cook as good, or at least as fancy, as we do, and are maybe a little intimidated to serve their own “home cooked” favorites to us.

Again, not true…

If you play the classic “What’s your death-row meal” with 10 cooks, 8 or 9 of the responses are going to be a simple, inexpensive, home-cooked dish that our moms or grandmas cooked for us, and not some Thomas Keller 22-course tasting menu, as five-hundred bucks a pop.

Most of us love the same foods you do, and we LOVE to have other folks cook for us.

Likewise, Chef’s especially, often have a laundry list of some of the nastiest, unhealthy, processed comfort foods on their “guilty pleasures” list, even as we preach natural, organic, farm-to-table menus to the masses.

We just don’t talk about it, and we don’t post THOSE pictures. ūüėČ

Top 3 on MY Guilt Pleasure list:

Earns KraftBoxed Mac & Cheese
I grew up on this glowing orange stable of the American pantry.

And not the “good stuff” either, but the store-brand, ten for a buck, boxes of stale macaroni, and powdered “cheez food”. Loved it then, love it now.

Disclaimer: I’ve upgraded Mom’s “water and margarine” version with whole milk, sweet cream butter, and sometimes a handful of extra-sharp cheddar, but it’s still basically the same stuff.

ravygaly2Canned Ravioli and Sauce
No explanation. Didn’t eat it growing up, and only discovered it in college when my kitchen was reduced to a hot plate and tiny microwave (both hidden under my bed, as both were against the rules…screw “the man”).

I still like it straight-up, 2 minutes in the nuke-box, right from the bowl, or stuffed into soft potato rolls.

Some of my fellow-students would eat it cold, straight from the can, but I’m pretty sure Jesus doesn’t want us to do that.

Microwave Bean & Cheese Burritos
photoThese are my go-to “I’ve been writing for 12 hours and I can’t leave my laptop” meal (in fact, it was lunch today).

I always have a stack of them in the low-boy freezer next to my desk. Wrap in paper-towels, nuke two minutes, and slather in Taco Bell Fire Sauce (God help me), and…if I’m feelin’ fancy, a fistful of queso…they’ve kept me going through many a nail-biting deadline.

How about you?

What are YOUR favorite convenience or comfort foods that you relish with a fair spoonful of shame?

What’s your guilty pleasure?

~Chef Perry


The Home Chef: Transforming the American KitchenAnd…in complete contradiction to this post… ūüėČ

We are entering the age of the ‚ÄúHome Chef‚ÄĚ, a title that‚Äôs available to nearly everyone, regardless of age, or financial standing.

That’s what this book is about…because something amazing has begun to happen in the last two decades, something that has never before happened in the history of cooking…instead of growing wider, the gap between the home cook and the professional chef has actually begun to narrow, and continues to narrow exponentially with each passing year.

The time when these specialized skills were limited to those who could afford the cost and time required for culinary school are quickly passing into history.

The time when the sole requirement to elevate your cooking skills to this level…passion…is emerging.

It’s an amazing time to become a Home Chef…and if you have that passion, I’ll show you how.

Welcome!

Chef Perry P. Perkins

 

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Thick & Sweet BBQ Sauce ~ My GF Recipe

BBQ Sauce

My goddaughter Emma is severely celiac, and she loved my bbq. So, of course, I had to come up with a grade-a homemade sauce for her.

After a bit of trail and error, this is the recipe I finally landed on, and I use it when I have clients with gluten issues.

If you like Sweet Baby Ray’s…this is pretty dang close!

1 1/4 cups ketchup (Heinz or French’s)
1 cup dark brown sugar
1/4 cup molasses
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1 Tbs Stubb’s hickory liquid smoke
2 1/2 tsp ground mustard
2 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp garlic powder
pinch cayenne pepper
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 tsp black pepper

Whisk together all ingredients in a medium pot over medium heat. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes, until sugar has dissolved.

Lower heat to a low simmer, and cook, stirring often, until reduced by half. Keep in mind that it may thicken slightly more while cooling.

Serve immediately or cover and store in the refrigerator.

Enjoy!

~Chef Perry


Barbeque: A Home Chef's Guideamazon

National Chocolate Cake Day…in 5 Minutes!

Microwave Chocolate Mug Cake #nationalchocolatecakeday

 

It’s #NationalChocolateCakeDay, Woo-Hoo!

Microwave mug cake is my go-to, last-minute “I need dessert tonight!” dessert.

This recipe has gone through many tests and tweeks to achieve a real, “death by chocolate” result.

Microwave Chocolate Rootbeer Cake in a Mug

1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup white sugar
1/2 unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. sea salt
3/4 cup whole milk
1/2 cup grape-seed oil
1/2 cup rootbeer
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup milk chocolate chips
Powdered sugar or Ice-Cream

Serves 4

Mix the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt in a bowl; stir in milk, oil, rootbeer, and vanilla extract. Don’t over mix.

Spoon this batter evenly between 4 (8oz+) microwave-safe mugs, and top with chocolate chips.

Microwave until cake is done in the middle, about 1 minute 45 seconds.

Let your cakes cool 30 seconds, sprinkle with powdered sugar, additional chocolate chips (or a scoop of vanilla bean ice-cream), and serve!

Note: If you want to do a fancy presentation on a plate, butter the interior of the cups first.

Enjoy!

~Chef Perry


The Home Chef: Transforming the American Kitchen

We are entering the age of the ‚ÄúHome Chef‚ÄĚ, a title that‚Äôs available to nearly everyone, regardless of age, or financial standing.

That’s what this book is about…because something amazing has begun to happen in the last two decades, something that has never before happened in the history of cooking…instead of growing wider, the gap between the home cook and the professional chef has actually begun to narrow, and continues to narrow exponentially with each passing year.

The time when these specialized skills were limited to those who could afford the cost and time required for culinary school are quickly passing into history.

The time when the sole requirement to elevate your cooking skills to this level…passion…is emerging.

It’s an amazing time to become a Home Chef…and if you have that passion, I’ll show you how.

Welcome!

Chef Perry P. Perkins

amazon

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


The King is Dead. Anthony Bourdain gone at 61

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‚ÄúDo we really want to travel in hermetically sealed pope-mobiles through the rural provinces of France, Mexico and the Far East, eating only in Hard Rock Cafes and McDonalds? Or do we want to eat without fear, tearing into the local stew, the humble taqueria’s mystery meat, the sincerely offered gift of a lightly grilled fish head?

I know what I want. I want it all. I want to try everything once.‚ÄĚ

~ Anthony Bourdain

Like most of the food world, I was shocked and saddened by the morning’s report of Anthony Bourdain’s death in a Paris hotel-room.

My (completely one-sided) relationship with Bourdain has always been conflicted. I can think of no other public figure in my life of whom I have, over a great deal of time, been so equally drawn to, and repulsed by.

His snarky, “New York Bad-ass” persona, far-left leanings, and compulsion for adolescent penis-humor, have more than once found me turning off his shows, mid-stream, muttering angrily to myself. And yet his obvious and hard-earned culinary skills, his love of adventure, his amazing mastery of the written word, and those few and (seemingly) far between “peek-behind-the-veil” moments of a deep ability to love, of great compassion, of fierce loyalty to his “crew”, always drew me back.

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And maybe it was that – those brief glimpses of vulnerability and heart, that kept me from being able to quit Tony.

“He was a Hero of Human Curiosity.” ~ CNN

a5fc09fb5af9a23abc2bffee407f89cdI’ve read all of his books, and watched every episode of every series, and for every instance in which he’s pissed me off, there are an equal number (probably more) of moments where he taught me something shockingly important, broadened my worldview, or pointed me down a new path of personal growth and adventure.

His no-compromise, “This is who I am, and fuck you if you don’t like it…” approach to life, resonates deeply with my own, often pig-headed, take me or leave me, attitude.

And, in that, I’m unsure whether Tony was was an inspiration to me, or an enabler of my own selfish hubris.

Like family, sometimes you love them, sometimes you hate them, but most often you float somewhere in the nebulous ether between the two.

What I do know is that I’ll miss him greatly.

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Wherever you have moved on to, Tony, I hope you’ve found peace…and a good bowl of Pho.

~Chef Perry
chefperryperkins.com

My Mama’s Favorite Hot Roast Beef Sandwiches

Hot Roast Beef Sandwich

636114443114791851--1-Kresge-s-Lunch-counter-sheboyganToday would have been my Mama’s 73rd birthday and, like we did every year on her birthday (and every year since she moved to Heaven) we’ll be having her very favorite dinner… a Hot Roast Beef Sandwich.

This was also our traditional meal at the Newberry’s lunch counter in Downtown Portland every Christmas season, when we made our annual trek to the “big city” to see the window displays, ride the Christmas monorail, and get my picture taken with Santa.

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Every bite of the delicious comfort food dinner brings a wave of happy childhood memories.

Mama’s Favorite Hot Roast Beef Sandwiches

2 carrots, cut into large chunks
1/2 bunch of celery, leaves removed
1 sweet onion, peeled, ends trimmed, quartered root to stem
1/2 lb white mushrooms, thinly sliced
3 lbs beef top round roast
4 garlic cloves, halved
2/3 cup olive oil
1/2 cup Montreal Steak Seasoning
1/2 cup red wine
1 stick butter
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 Tbs. browning liquid
8 slices white bread, for serving
Creamy Mashed Potatoes

The Roast

Preheat the oven to 350F. Place the carrots, celery, mushrooms, and onion in the bottom of a roasting pan, and add wine and just enough water to just cover the vegetables.

Poke 8 holes in the sides and top of your roast and inster the the garlic pieces. Rub the whole roast with oil and sprinnkle generously on all sides with steak seasoning.

tritip6Over medium-high heat, heat a dry skilliet for 5-8 minutes and sear all sides of the roast until well browned.

Place the roast on top of the veggies (do not wash the skillet – we’ll use it again), cover the pan with foil, and roast until the meat reaches 130F (about 2 hours). Move the roast to a cutting board and let it rest for 30 minutes. Then move to the fridge to chill for 2 hours.

IMG_4515The Gravy

Strain the roasting-pan juices; discard the vegetables (do not wipe out the pan!) Melt the butter in the same skillet over medium-high heat. Whisk in the flour to make a roux, and whisk until the roux is a golden brown, and smells nutty. Slowly whisk the roasting pan juices and the browning liquid, and simmer until thickened, whisking constantly.

Slice the roast beef as thin as possible, and add the slices to the hot gravy. Set a slice of bread on each plate, and heap with beef gravy mixture.

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Top the beef with another slice and bread, add potatoes to the plate, and ladle the remaining gravy on top.

Happy birthday, Mama!

~Chef Perry


The Home Chef: Transforming the American KitchenWe are entering the age of the ‚ÄúHome Chef‚ÄĚ, a title that‚Äôs available to nearly everyone, regardless of age, or financial standing.

That’s what this book is about…because something amazing has begun to happen in the last two decades, something that has never before happened in the history of cooking…instead of growing wider, the gap between the home cook and the professional chef has actually begun to narrow, and continues to narrow exponentially with each passing year.

The time when these specialized skills were limited to those who could afford the cost and time required for culinary school are quickly passing into history.

The time when the sole requirement to elevate your cooking skills to this level…passion…is emerging.

It’s an amazing time to become a Home Chef…and if you have that passion, I’ll show you how.

Welcome!

Chef Perry P. Perkins

amazon

 

 

 

A healthy, home-cooked dinner…in 5 minutes?

potatoHow nice would it be to come home from work and have a healthy, home cooked dinner on the table…in about 5 minutes?

1. Cook up a big batch of seasoned ground beef, pork, or turkey over the weekend, portion into family-serving sizes, and freeze.

2. Before you leave for work, pop some nice big russet potatoes in the slow-cooker (see video, below), take a package of the ground meat out of the freezer, and set it in the bottom of the fridge to thaw.

(Or, make this dinner on Monday or Tuesday night, and you don’t even have to freeze the meat!)

3. When you get home, just pop the meat in the microwave (maybe with a package of your favorite frozen veggies, sloppy-joe sauce, or chili).

4. Lay out the cooked potatoes, meat, veggies, maybe some shredded cheese, sour cream, chopped onions, etc., and KABOOM…5 minute potato bar, baby!

~Chef Perry
chefperryperkins.com


The Home Chef: Transforming the American KitchenWe are entering the age of the ‚ÄúHome Chef‚ÄĚ, a title that‚Äôs available to nearly everyone, regardless of age, or financial standing.

That’s what this book is about…because something amazing has begun to happen in the last two decades, something that has never before happened in the history of cooking…instead of growing wider, the gap between the home cook and the professional chef has actually begun to narrow, and continues to narrow exponentially with each passing year.

The time when these specialized skills were limited to those who could afford the cost and time required for culinary school are quickly passing into history.

The time when the sole requirement to elevate your cooking skills to this level…passion…is emerging.

It’s an amazing time to become a Home Chef…and if you have that passion, I’ll show you how.

Welcome!

Chef Perry P. Perkins

amazon

Who to Believe…

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Rule #1 when fact-checking a “warning” post…is the site that the article is posted on trying to sell you something? A book? An online course? A membership?

And, especially in the case of food warnings…a cookbook, supplement, or pill to replace the “bad” food?

80% of sales is pure BS, and the other 20% is misleading statistics. ūüėČ

Rules of thumb:

  1. If the site is advertising a product to replace the thing they’re warning you about…close the window.
  2. If there are no links, or specific references to legitimate studies and supporting evidence…close the window.
  3. If all of the posts on the site are on the same subject, ie: “The evils of…” close the window. (I call these “ax-grinders”)
  4. If a high percentage of the posts on the site seem to be making outlandish claims on a variety of subjects…close the window. (tin-foil hat blogs)
  5. Click Bait: If th site is peppered with lots of “Sponsored ads”, there’s a good chance the article is pure click-bait.
  6. Sensational subject lines: “5 Things your eating that will kill you…”, “Eat ***** everyday to avoid Alzheimers”, “The Cure for Cancer, Found!” Again, click-bait.

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You want reliable, established sites with plenty of verifiable evidence from professional sources. Like most things in life, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

Don’t get hooked.

~Chef Perry

PS -And, for GOD’S SAKE…DON’T SHARE IT!