Monthly BBQ for 20…for $10?

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

RAFFLE!

Premier 7-Course BBQ Dinner for up to 20!
Value: $400.00

Chef Perry will come to your home* and put on a classic Southern BBQ dinner of slow-smoked pulled-pork and all the trimmings for up to 20 guests!

Perry is a cookbook author, food blogger, cooking instructor, and frequent guest chef on AM Northwest. As a third-generation professional chef, he specializes in traditional Eastern Carolina and Texas BBQ.

Enter to win, and be a guest at your own party!

Tickets are just $10 each, and will be available from the 1st to the 5th of each month.

Winner will be drawn from a hat by Gracie on the 6th (watch for the video!)

buy-raffle-ticket

Da Fine Print

*Mutually agreed date. Use of a kitchen in required,
Travel charges apply beyond 90 minutes of Longview, WA.

Southern Chicken & Dumplin’s

Southern Chicken & Dumplings

Having just moved from the farm to the suburbs, we’re only allowed a half-dozen chickens, which means…we have a few in the freezer now.

Circle of life, baby.

This is my favorite recipe for using a yard-bird that is a bit past her prime, and one that was handed down from my grandmother, who kept her own small flock for the family’s eggs and an occasional pot of soup.

This is classic Southern comfort food at it’s best. If you’re not wild about dumplings, you can leave them out, and ladle this soup over fresh-baked buttermilk biscuits, as well.

Grandma’s Chicken & Dumplin’s

  • 1 large broiler-fryer chicken, cut up
  • 2 celery ribs, sliced
  • 4 carrots, peeled and sliced
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 4 cups homemade chicken stock
  • 1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped
  • 1 Tbsp fresh garlic, minced
  • 1/2 tsp powdered sage
  • 2 Tbs butter
  • 1 Tbs grapeseed oil
  • 2 teaspoons chicken base
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon coarse black pepper
  • hot water
  • Southern style dumplings (recipe below)

IMG_7636

In a heavy-bottom pot, melt the butter with oil over medium heat, and brown the chicken pieces (including back) with salt & pepper. Remove chicken and set aside.

IMG_6481 (1024x768)

Add celery, carrots, onion (Mire Poix), parsley, sage, and garlic to the pot, and saute until just softened, scraping up any browned bits left from the chicken.

Southern Style Chicken and Dumplings Recipe

Add chicken back into the pot, along with chicken broth and base; add enough hot water to cover chicken.

Home Chef Note: Unless specified, you always want to add heated liquid to a hot dish, otherwise the drop in temperature and adversely effect the cooking time and texture of the recipe.

Bring to a boil; reduce heat, cover and simmer for 2 hours or until chicken is done.

Remove chicken and let stand until cool enough to handle, then remove skin from chicken and tear meat away from bones. Return meat to soup; discard skin and bones.

Taste for seasonings, and add more salt and pepper to taste, if desired.

If you like what I’m posting, please share! If you love what I’m posting, and want to help me feed the hungry, and teach at-risk and special needs kids to cook for themselves, please consider becoming a patron at my Patreon page!

Southern Style Dumplings Recipe

Drop dumplings into simmering soup. Cover and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes.

Serve immediately.

 

Serves 6

Southern Style Dumplings Recipe

Southern Style Dumplings

  • 2 1/2 cups flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 beaten eggs
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup buttermilk milk
  • 3/4 cup homemade chicken stock
  • 3 tablespoons oil

Combine all; mix well to form a stiff batter.

Drop by tablespoonfuls into simmering soup.

Cover and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes.

Home Chef Note: Traditionally, the dumplings start out as round, ping-pong size balls. If you prefer something a little less dense, try making them about half that size, and flattening into 1/2 inch thick coins, before adding to the soup. This will result in more dumplings, that are less of a mouthful each.

 

Boeuf Bourguignon for Julia’s Birthday

American Masters: Julia Child

Today would be Julia Child’s 105th birthday.

IMG_3999This was the very first “dish that Julia made on “The French Chef” and that was deliberate. Her goal in choosing this dish (as mine is in The Home Chef) was to demystify what was, and still is, considered one of the most delicious meals you can make, and thereby demystify cooking in general.

In fact, the original title of The French Chef, was “French Cooking for the Servant-less American Housewife.”

Her point: It’s beef stew with red wine…anyone can make it. It also shows so many great techniques of French cooking, and the basic building blocks of preparing better food, for anyone who has an interest.

Happy Birthday, Julia!

IMG_7383

Boeuf Bourguignon ala Julia Child

For the Stew

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil                                                 
  • 3 lbs lean stewing beef, cut into 2-inch cubes
  • 1 carrot, peeled and sliced                                         
  • 1 onion, peeled and sliced
  • 1 teaspoon salt                                                           
  • 1⁄4 teaspoon pepper, freshly ground
  • 2 tablespoons flour                                                    
  • 3 C red wine (Bordeaux, Burgundy, Chianti)
  • 2 -3 cups beef stock                                                   
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 3 garlic cloves, mashed                                              
  • 1 sprig thyme
  • 1 bay leaf
  • Chopped parsley to garnish

For the braised onions

  • 1 lg. Sweet onion, diced                                            
  • 1 1⁄2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 1⁄2 tablespoons olive oil                                          
  • 1⁄2 cup beef stock
  • salt & fresh ground pepper                                        
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 sprig thyme
  • 2 sprigs parsley                                                          

For the Sautéed Mushrooms

  • 1 lb mushroom, quartered                                          
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil

For the Root Veggies

  • 1lb small Yukon Gold potatoes                                
  • 4 Tbs. olive oil
  • 2 tsp of salt                                                                 
  • ½ lb peeled baby carrots
  • 4 large stalks of celery, chopped

Directions

Pre-heat the oven to 325°F.

Put the tablespoon of olive oil in a large stainless steel pan and warm over medium-high heat.

IMG_7366

Dry off the cubes of beef and fry them, a few at a time in the hot oil until nicely browned on all sides. Do not crowd the pan.

Once browned, remove to the casserole.

In the same oil/fat, sauté the onions until softened, and set them aside till needed. Deglaze the pan with a little red wine, scraping up the browned bits of meat that are stuck to the bottom.

Add the wine and enough stock so that the meat is barely covered.

Add the tomato paste, garlic and herbs

Bring to a simmer on the top of the stove.

Cover and place in the oven, adjusting the heat so that the liquid is at a low simmer for three hours.

The meat is done when a fork pierces it easily.

IMG_7371

While the meat is cooking, prepare the veggies:

Pre-heat oven to 400F

Halve the potatoes, add to a large bowl with carrots and chopped celery, and toss with olive oil. Sprinkle with salt, and toss again.

Place the veggies in a single layer, cut side up, on a foil-covered roasting pan, or sheet.

Roast until just medium brown, and not quite cooked through. (10-12 minutes)

IMG_7368

For the mushrooms:

Heat the butter and oil over high heat in a large skillet.

As soon as the foam begins to subside add the mushrooms, tossing and shaking frequently, for about five minutes.

As soon as they’ve browned lightly, remove from heat.

To Finish the Stew:

When the beef is done, remove the casserole from the oven and empty into a sieve over a saucepan.

Return the solids to the pot, and add all of the veggies to the meat.

Skim the fat off the sauce and bring it to a simmer, skimming off any fat that rises to the surface. You should have around 2 1/2 cups of sauce, thick enough to coat a spoon lightly.

If it’s too thick, add a little stock. Too thin, simmer to reduce to the right consistency.

Taste for seasoning.

Pour the sauce over the meat and vegetables.

IMG_7373

If you’re serving immediately, warm over medium-low heat and simmer a couple of minutes.

Serve in the casserole or on a warm platter, garnished with fresh parsley.

If serving later or the next day, allow the casserole to cool and place cold, covered casserole in the refrigerator.

20 minutes prior to serving, place over medium low heat and simmer very slowly for ten minutes, occasionally basting the meat and veggies.

IMG_7379

17 Ways to Beat the Heat in the Kitchen

IMG_7179.JPG

Well, apparently, the devil is taking a vacation in the Pacific Northwest this week, with temps sky-rocketing to the 100+ (I’ve seen forecasts as high as 110F for the Portland/Metro area…Oy!)

Ways to Beat the Heat

1. Cook up a couple of pounds of pasta, rinse (this is the only time you EVER want to rinse you pasta!) and tuck in the fridge.

IMG_7173

This Zucchini and Bow-tie Pasta with Shallot Sauce, is one of my favorites!

2. Toss with some fresh veggies (tomatoes, cukes, etc.) a little fresh basil, and some dressing (I like Italian, or sun-dried tomatoes) for a refreshingly cool pasta salad. Penne and orzo are my favorites. I usually add some…

IMG_7175

3. 12 Minute Chicken
Use your microwave, and this recipe to poach enough chicken breasts for a couple of dinners. Great for salads and sandwiches.

4. Stock up on sandwich fixings, and toss a couple of extra loaves of bread in the freezer.

5. When the heat hits, both ice and bottled water will be at a premium, and likely limited to a couple of bags per purchase. Stock up now.

6. Likewise, the price of fresh fruit will likely go up (especially high water content items like melons, grapes, berries, etc.,) Buy extra and store in the fridge.

7. Deli meat is a life-saver.

Salads with deli-meat, chopped chicken, salad-shrimp, or some good canned tuna, and easy and refreshing.

IMG_7176

This Shrimp with Fresh Pico is a favorite.

My Sesame-Cilantro Slaw is lovely in hot weather, as well. 🙂

8. Keep some cherry tomatoes and sliced celery sticks in a pitcher of water, in the fridge, for snacking.

IMG_7177.JPG

9. The last thing you want to do, is kick-start the heat by cooking in the morning. If you’re not a cold cereal person, scramble up a big mess of eggs with some chopped bacon, onions, peppers, etc., and keep it in the fridge for a quick-nuke breakfast. Avoid using mushrooms, as they’ll get slimy.

10. Hard boil a dozen or more eggs, for a quick, cool, easy to peel protein source. Eat them straight-up, in salads, or as sandwiches.

11. If you must cook, use your crock-pot, or get up a couple of hours early, and cook while it’s still cool. Open the kitchen windows to let the heat out.

12. Invest in freezer pops!

As much as I hate to say it, don’t plan to BBQ or grill. 105F is too hot to be cooking outdoors, and standing over a grill in that heat it brutal (believe me, I know!)

13. This is a good time to invest in a rice cooker, and learn to make your own sushi! If that seems too daunting, toss up a sushi salad:

IMG_7180

Non-Food Tips

14. Toss some damp wash-clothes in a zip bag, and put them in the fridge. A cool cloth on the back of the neck (or anywhere else that’s overheated) is a wonderful thing.

15. Periodically, add some ice-cubes to your pet’s water bowl. Imagine wearing a fur coat in this heat!

16. Plan chores (especially outside chores) for early morning. Let the friggin’ grass grow, a perfect lawn isn’t worth heatstroke.

If like what I’m posting, please share! If you love what I’m posting, and want to help me feed the hungry, and teach at-risk and special needs kids to cook for themselves, please consider becoming a patron at my Patreon Page!

Lastly, and this is a personal note…

IMG_7178

17. Carry a small cooler of ice and bottled water in your passenger seat.

Keep an eye out for homeless folks at intersections and street-corners, and pass along a couple of cold bottles to them, when you can. (Your local homeless shelter is probably desperate for a case of three as well, just sayin’…)

This kind of heat can be miserable for all of us, but people who don’t have shelter can (and do) die in these kinds of temps. 

Stay cool!

~Chef Perry
chefperryperkins.com

 

Easiest way to Grill a Mess of Shrimp

Easy Grilled Shrimp

So, I needed to grill up a whole mess of shrimp appetizers (recipe below) for a cook-out yesterday. While shopping, I found these kabob baskets on a clearance shelf for $3 each (normally about $10 for a set of two on Amazon), and had an epiphany.

What I don’t like about grilling shrimp kabobs:

  • It takes up a lot of grill space.
  • You’re constantly turning and keeping an eye on a lot of individual pieces of shrimp.
  • I always forget to soak my skewers long enough.
  • Served on the skewer (the way I like) can leave for sooty fingers, which my clients aren’t wild about.

What I like about shrimp kabobs:

  • They’re awesome.
  • They’re easy to eat.
  • They help with portion control (ie: everyone gets some, without breaking the bank on shrimp gluttons!)

So, I had a thought…what if I grilled up a bunch of these beauties at a time, and THEN added them to the skewers for serving. Problem: now instead of a dozen or two skewers to keep track ff, I have a couple of hundred individual shrimp to keep turning and moving…and quickly!

Shrimp will overcook or burn quicker than it takes to say, “Oh, S***!” Especially when marinated with an oil or alcohol base.

The solution? The kabob basket!

Kabob basket for grilling shrimpI loaded 40 large shrimp per basket, set them on the grill, and cooked about 3 minutes per side, flipping baskets (40 servings at a time) just three time each.

The best way to grill a lot of shrimp
Photo by Kristen Renner

Open the baskets, a quick flip of the wrist, and all the shrimp were in the bowl ready to skewer!

Grilling shrimp with a kabob basket
Photo by Kristen Renner

The result? Enough appetizers to keep the whole crowd happy, in less than 20 minutes, AND I was able to work on other dishes at the same time!

Then, just pop a couple of the en of each clean skewer, spritz with some lemon juice, and sprinkle the whole platter with chopped parsley.

I will NEVER grill shrimp any other way again!

Chef Perry

If you like what I’m posting, please share! If you love what I’m posting, and want to help me feed the hungry, and teach at-risk and special needs kids to cook for themselves, please consider becoming a patron at my Patreon page!

Shrimp Salmoriglio
Serves 40 (2 skewers each)

  • 1/2 cup salted capers
  • 1/2 cup basil leaves
  • 6 garlic clove, minced
  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
  • 2 lemons, zested and juiced
  • Coarse ground black pepper
  • 150 large shrimp, shelled and deveined
  • Salt to taste
  • Lemon juice for spritzing
  • 1 cup cilantro leaves, minced

On a cutting board, finely chop the drained capers with the basil leaves and garlic.

Transfer the mixture to a bowl and stir in 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons of the olive oil, along with the lemon zest and lemon juice. Season the sauce with pepper.

Place shrimp in a large zip bag, pour in the marinade, seals and toss to coat. Let rest in the fridge 2-8 hours.

1 hour before grilling, remove from fridge and let sit on counter.

Light a grill, coals, etc

Drain the shrimp, and load as many as will fit into each kabob box, without packing them too tightly. Close the box.

Grill over high heat, turning once per side, until the shrimp are lightly charred and cooked through, about 3 minutes per side.

Remove the shrimp from the box and transfer them to a platter (or a bowl, if you’re going to skewer them, 2-3 per skewer). Sprinkle more pepper on on top (optional), a healthy handful of minced parsley, and serve.

Home Chef Note: You could easily change this up to a great “South of the Border” version, by swapping the capers an basil for chili powder and minced jalapenos, limes for the lemons, and cilantro instead of parsley!

Mexican grilled shrimp

 

Home Chef Tip: The Best Knife for Cutting Tomatoes

Best for for cutting Tomatoes

Cutting tomatoes isn’t exactly rocket science, but there is still a hardway and an easy way.

By far, the best knife in your block for cutting tomatoes is the small serrated-blade, also called the “utility” knife. (About $12 at Kohl’s)

Using fresh tomatoes helps, as well. The older a tomato gets, the tougher the skin, and softer the insides. When combined, this can turned “slicing” into “squashing.” This is where the utility knife really earns its keep, slicing through the tougher outer membrane without enough force to smash the fruit.

The serrated blade is what my the knives in the old Ginsu commercials famously able to “cut through a Coke can, and STILL slice a tomato!” 😉

If you don’t have one, get one. It’s a great knife.

Chef Perry

 

How to tell when Artichokes are done

How to know when artichokes are done

My Facebook friend Anna asks:

How long should you boil artichokes? Mine always seen to come out either under-done or mushy. How can you tell when they’re just right? Thanks Chef!

My response:

Hey Anna, thank YOU for the questions! Everyone at my house are total artichoke fiends, lol, so I cook tons of ’em. While there are a lot of ways to prepare these beauties, boiling fresh artichokes is one of the original and classic methods, and how most restaurants still do it today.

MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERA

Make sure to pick ripe ones. California artichokes (buy American!) are available all year, but peak season is March through May and again in October. You want them to feel more like a softball than a baseball when you give ’em a squeeze.  You can also hold the artichoke next to your ear, and squeeze its leaves with your fingers. If you hear a squeak, the artichoke is extremely fresh, and a good one to buy.

Artichokes should feel disproportionately heavy for their size. This indicates that they still have plenty of natural moisture and will be packed with flavor.

Avoid any that have a lot of dark spots, dried/cracked leaves, or if the stem feels mushy or isn’t nice and green. Never store your artichokes in the fridge, or in a plastic bag, both will hasten spoilage. Some will disagree on the fridge thing, but my rule of thumb, after many years of professional cooking, is, if it ain’t refrigerated in the store, I don’t refrigerate it at home.

And I have to say it…my Dad, regardless of what restaurant he was working in, or how far in the weeds, always shouted, “You might’a choked Artie, but you ain’t gonna choke me!” whenever he dropped them in the pot. I do the same. Call it good mojo.

Anyway…

Here’s how I do it

  • Trim a quarter-inch off the end of the stem. You can chop off the top, or trim the individual leaves, as well, but I usually don’t go to the trouble.
  • Wash the artichoke just before cooking. Any earlier, and the excess moisture can increase spoilage.
  • In a pot large enough to hold all of the artichokes you’re planning to cook (you want them to have a little room, so don’t over-stuff the pot) bring salted water to a boil. You want enough water in there for the ‘chokes to float freely.
  • Cook on a high simmer, covered, for 30 minutes (medium-size) or 45 minutes for the really big ones.

If you like what I’m posting, please share! If you love what I’m posting, and want to help me feed the hungry, and teach at-risk and special needs kids to cook for themselves, please consider becoming a patron at my Patreon page!

How to tell when artichokes are done

How to know when they’re done: The “Artichoke Poke Test”

You can tell that they’re done when the point a sharp knife goes into the artichoke base with very little resistance.

If it feels like you’re poking a hot baked potato, you’re good to go.

I let mine cool for 15 to 20 minutes (out of the water). When they’re still hot, but you can hold them in your palm for five seconds, you’re ready to eat!

Serve with lemon-butter, garlic-butter, or (like we do) with a big dollop of good old-fashioned Best Foods Mayo and black pepper. Dad liked them in the classic French style with hollandaise.

Artichokes with pepper mayo

Whatever you choose to dip them in…mmmmm….

Keep Cookin’,

Chef Perry
chefperryperkins.com