A simple blog about food, cooking, family, friends and the fun of ultra running. From the eyes of Chef Bill Bailey.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Happy New Year 2011!!!

I can't believe it's 2011!  Aren't  we supposed to be flying around in spaceships? I am curious to see what 2011 brings as far as food trends.  This year I will be plugging away promoting PLAYING WITH KNIVES & FIRE.  In-home cooking classes is a great way to bring family & friends together.   
I have a new cooking class party format, a brand new Dinner In A Dash service (This is an awesome idea for your next party), and a new Personal Chef Service .  I will also be promoting some Healthy Cooking Classes...These details are not ready yet...I'll keep you posted.  I will continue to post recipes on this blog, if you have any request or need some culinary help feel free to contact me any time. My website will be a work in progress, so keep checking back to see what's new.      

Thursday, December 9, 2010


Just as it is in classical French cuisine, roux is a mixture of flour and fat, usually butter or oil. The proportion is roughly 1:1, but I tend to use slightly more flour than oil; maybe 1-1/4 cups of flour to 1 cup of oil.

French Chef’s use this mixture to create gravies, sauces and creamy soups. It is the basis for many Louisiana dishes, particularly gumbo, but also etouffees, sauce piquantes, and more.

There are three basic types of roux: light (or what the Cajuns call "blond"), medium (or "peanut butter" colored), and dark. There is white roux also, which is cooked for just a minute to get the flour taste out, but this is rarely used in Louisiana cooking. For gumbos, for instance, Creole cooks tend to prefer a blond or medium roux, where Cajun cooks tend to prefer a very dark roux, which is wonderfully smoky tasting. There are, of course, exceptions to this. In fact, you'll see people making many different "levels" of roux. Blond, light brown, medium-light brown, medium brown/"peanut butter", and dark browns that range from the color of milk chocolate to the color of bittersweet chocolate. This is the most amazing roux of all in flavor, but the most difficult to achieve; it's really easy to burn it from this point. Use your eyes and nose; if it's gone over to being burned you can smell it. It's like the difference between really dark toast and burnt toast. You also have to take it off the heat slightly before the roux gets to the color you want, because the residual heat in the pan (particularly if it's cast iron) will continue to cook the roux. This is why it's a good idea to add your "trinity" (onion, celery, bell pepper) to the roux before it gets to your desired color, because that'll help slow the cooking process.

Roux is used to thicken gumbos, sauces, étouffées or stews, and in the case of a darker roux to flavor the dish as well. Dark roux has more flavor, a wonderful roasted nutty flavor, but tends to have less thickening power.

Preparation of a roux is dependent on cooking time; the longer you cook, the darker the roux. A blond roux will only take four or five minutes; a dark roux up to 20 or 25 minutes at high heat, or up to an hour at low heat.

Roux must be stirred constantly to avoid burning. Constantly means not stopping to answer the phone, let the cat in, or flip the LP record over, and if you've got to go the bathroom ... hold it in or hand off your whisk or roux paddle to someone else. If you see black specks in your roux, you've burned it; throw it out and start over.

When you're stirring your roux, be very careful not to splatter any on you. It's extremely hot, and it sticks. They don't call it Creole napalm for nothing ... I have a lovely burn scar on my forearm from last year's Christmas Eve gumbo, when I got sloppy with the stirring.

Certain dishes (like crawfish étouffée) would benefit from a butter-based roux, but if you're going to make a dark roux, this will take a long time. Butter roux must be cooked at low to low-medium heat, or the butter will scorch. Darker roux are better suited to being made with oil. If you know what you're doing, you can make an oil-based roux over medium-high to high heat, whisking like hell, and you'll have a beautiful near-milk-chocolate colored roux in about 20 minutes rather than an hour. Peanut oil works best for high-heat roux cooking.

Now, one not-so-bad idea is the oil-less roux, pioneered by Cajun Chef Enola Prudhomme. Basically, you just dump the flour into a cast-iron skillet and toast it dry, making sure to stir it around as you would a normal roux. I've never tried this, but apparently it works rather well, and is perfect for folks who are on low-fat diets.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

French Onion Soup

Serves 6.
For the best flavor, make the soup a day or 2 in advance. Alternatively, the onions can be prepared through step 1, cooled in the pot, and refrigerated for up to 3 days before proceeding with the recipe.



3 tablespoons unsalted butter , cut into 3 pieces
6 large yellow onions (about 4 pounds), halved and cut pole to pole into 1/4-inch-thick slices
Table salt
2 cups water , plus extra for deglazing
1/2 cup dry sherry
4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
2 cups beef broth
6 sprigs fresh thyme , tied with kitchen twine
1 bay leaf
Ground black pepper

Cheese Croutons:
1 small baguette , cut into 1/2-inch slices
8 ounces shredded Gruyère cheese (about 2 1/2 cups)


1. For the soup: Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and heat oven to 400 degrees. Generously spray inside of heavy-bottomed large (at least 7-quart) Dutch oven with nonstick cooking spray. Place butter in pot and add onions and 1 teaspoon salt. Cook, covered, 1 hour (onions will be moist and slightly reduced in volume). Remove pot from oven and stir onions, scraping bottom and sides of pot. Return pot to oven with lid slightly ajar and continue to cook until onions are very soft and golden brown, 1 1/2 to 1 3/4 hours longer, stirring onions and scraping bottom and sides of pot after 1 hour.
2. Carefully remove pot from oven and place over medium-high heat. Using oven mitts to handle pot, cook onions, stirring frequently and scraping bottom and sides of pot, until liquid evaporates and onions brown, 15 to 20 minutes, reducing heat to medium if onions are browning too quickly. Continue to cook, stirring frequently, until pot bottom is coated with dark crust, 6 to 8 minutes, adjusting heat as necessary. (Scrape any fond that collects on spoon back into onions.) Stir in 1/4 cup water, scraping pot bottom to loosen crust, and cook until water evaporates and pot bottom has formed another dark crust, 6 to 8 minutes. Repeat process of deglazing 2 or 3 more times, until onions are very dark brown. Stir in sherry and cook, stirring frequently, until sherry evaporates, about 5 minutes.
3. Stir in broths, 2 cups water, thyme, bay leaf, and 1/2 teaspoon salt, scraping up any final bits of browned crust on bottom and sides of pot. Increase heat to high and bring to simmer. Reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer 30 minutes. Remove and discard herbs, then season with salt and pepper.
4. For the croutons: While soup simmers, arrange baguette slices in single layer on baking sheet and bake in 400-degree oven until bread is dry, crisp, and golden at edges, about 10 minutes. Set aside.
5. To serve: Adjust oven rack 6 inches from broiler element and heat broiler. Set individual broiler-safe crocks on baking sheet and fill each with about 1 3/4 cups soup. Top each bowl with 1 or 2 baguette slices (do not overlap slices) and sprinkle evenly with Gruyère. Broil until cheese is melted and bubbly around edges, 3 to 5 minutes. Let cool 5 minutes before serving.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Chili Verde Pork

Cook time:1 hr 30 min
Serves:  12 servings

• 4 pounds pork butt, cut into 1-inch cubes, trimmed of fat
• 4 yellow onions, chopped
• 4 Anaheim chiles
• 2 jalapeno, minced
• 4 tablespoons garlic, chopped
• 1 pound tomatillos, husk removed
• 1/2 cup white wine
• 1/4 cup white vinegar
• 1 cup chicken stock
• 2 tablespoons ground oregano
• 2 tablespoons ground cumin
• 1 tablespoon salt
• 1 tablespoon ground black pepper

In a medium Dutch oven, heat the oil, add the onion, peppers and garlic. Saute until translucent, do not brown. Remove and set mixture aside.
Lightly grill the tomatillos on open flame until lightly charred. Remove from heat, place in bowl and cover with plastic wrap to keep warm for 20 minutes.
Add pork butt to Dutch oven and cook over high heat until browned on all sides
Add the onion-pepper mixture and tomatillos to the pork. Mix thoroughly and then deglaze with white wine and vinegar. Let reduce for 5 minutes, then add chicken stock, oregano, cumin, salt and pepper.
Let simmer for 1 hour.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010


Serve these short ribs with buttered egg noodles tossed with chopped fresh parsley, or mashed potatoes or rice.

1/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
1 tbsp. paprika (not hot)
1 tbsp. curry powder
2 tsp. ground cumin
2 tsp. ground black pepper
2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. dry mustard
4 to 41/4 lbs. beef short ribs, cut into 4-inch pieces
3 tbsp. olive oil
4 medium leeks (white and pale green parts only), chopped
4 medium carrots, chopped
3 celery ribs, chopped
2 bay leaves
1/4 cup chopped garlic
2 cups beef broth
2 12-oz. bottles stout, such as Guinness
2 14-oz. cans diced tomatoes
In a small bowl, stir together the brown sugar, paprika, curry powder, cumin, pepper, salt and mustard.

Use paper towels to pat the ribs dry. Arrange them in a single layer in a shallow baking pan or a shallow baking dish, then generously coat all sides of ribs with spice mixture. Chill, uncovered, for 1 hour.

Place an oven rack in the lower third of the oven. Heat the oven to 375 degrees.

In a large Dutch oven over high, heat the oil until hot but not smoking. Add the ribs, working in batches if necessary, and quickly brown them on the three meaty sides (but not bone side), about one minute per side.

Transfer the meat to a large plate, then the add leeks, carrots, celery and bay leaves. Cook over moderately low heat, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables begin to soften, about 3 minutes. Add garlic and cook for about 1 minute.

Add the broth, beer and tomatoes with their juice, then add the ribs and any juices accumulated on the plate. Bring to a boil, uncovered. Cover the pot tightly with foil, then the lid. Place in the oven and braise until the meat is very tender, 2 to 21/2 hours. A paring knife inserted into the meat should have little resistance.

Skim off excess fat from the surface of sauce. Discard the bay leaves before serving.
Makes 6 servings.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Chicken Paprikas (Paprikấs Csirke)

The key to great Paprikas is lot of onions & Hungarian Paprika. I’ve had this dish slightly thicker than this version, if desire stir in a little roux to thicken.

2-3 Sliced Onions
3 Tbs. Shortening
1 Tbs. Hungarian Sweet Paprika
½ tsp. Black Pepper
2 Tsp. Salt
5 lbs. cut up chicken pieces
1 C. Chicken Stock
½ Pint Sour Cream

Brown Onions in shortening. Add seasonings & chicken. Add Stock; cover and simmer slowly until chicken is tender. Stir in sour cream.

Happy Birthday Mom...

Monday, October 18, 2010

Lemon Blueberry Bread Recipe:

1 1/2 cups (195 grams) all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons (85 grams) unsalted butter, room temperature
1/4 cup (150 grams) granulated white sugar
2 large eggs
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 tablespoon grated lemon zest (outer yellow skin of the lemon)
1/2 cup (120 ml) milk
1 cup fresh blueberries

Lemon Glaze:
1/4 cup (50 grams) granulated white sugar
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F  and place the oven rack in the center of the oven.
2. Butter (or spray with a non stick vegetable spray) the bottom and sides of a loaf pan (9 x 5 x 3 inch) (23 x 13 x 8 cm).

3. In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt.
4. In another bowl, using an electric mixer, beat the butter until softened (about 1 minute). Add the sugar and continue to beat until light and fluffy.
3. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.
4. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed.
5. Beat in the vanilla extract and lemon zest. With the mixer on low.
6. Add the flour mixture (in three additions) and milk (in two additions) alternately, starting and ending with the flour. Mix only until combined.
7. Gently fold in the blueberries.
8. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan.
9. Bake for about 55 to 65 minutes, or until the bread is golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
10. Meanwhile, in a small saucepan, bring the 1/4 cup of sugar and the 2 tablespoons of lemon juice to a boil, stirring until the sugar dissolves.
11. When the bread is done, remove from oven and place on a wire rack.
12. Pierce the hot loaf all over with a wooden skewer or toothpick.
13. Brush the top of the loaf with the hot lemon glaze.
14. Cool the loaf in the pan for about 30 minutes then remove from pan and let cool completely on a wire rack.

This bread is best served on the day it is made.
Makes 1 loaf