Blogs > Cooking from Scratch

Chef Stacy believes that cooking from scratch and using the best ingredients are the secrets to preparing delicious and memorable meals. She has created dozens of classes for the home chef and teaches students how to master culinary techniques and recipes in just one session. Read on to see what she's dishing up for The Oakland Press today....

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

New Meat & Seafood Shop to Open in Time for Memorial Day Grilling

As a chef who's obsessed with food quality, there isn't much more that excites me than the opening of a new restaurant or shop that's dedicated to bringing exceptional products to the community. I'm incredibly fussy about ingredients and very particular about where I shop. Like anyone else, I have my preferences, and our shopping habits are shaped by changing tastes and family tradition. My mom used to pick us up from school and take us to Joe's Produce in Livonia for fruits and veggies for the week. For my patience, I was rewarded with a small bottle of freshly squeezed orange juice, which I nursed the whole way home, trying to make it last as long as I could. Mom shopped there for years and I shop there now. I'm incredibly delighted that this weekend, they'll be opening a new meat and seafood shop, something I've been craving since I bought a home of my own. Just in time for the holiday weekend, I'll be able up my proteins and other ingredients for the picnic on Monday. The store will offer a variety of locally sourced meats, such as Michigan grass-fed beef and heritage Duroc pork . In addition to the locally raised items, several other quality meat and seafood items will be featured in their state-of-the-art meat and seafood cases. Bell & Evans all natural poultry products, veal, Maple Leaf Farms duck, Angus USDA Choice beef, Piedmontese beef, prime beef, and domestically raised all natural lamb will be hand trimmed by their in-house butchery staff. Those looking for ground beef without the fillers and by-products can purchase with the confidence of knowing that beef is ground daily in their refrigerated prep rooms to ensure the highest of quality and food safety. Sausages will also be made in-house. Varieties such as chicken, pork and lamb will be made using only fresh ingredients, natural casings, and unique recipes developed by their chefs. For convenience, customers will find oven-ready entrees, sides, a small selection of groceries, charcoal, and other grilling accessories. Behind the seafood counter, shoppers will find house-made salads, dips, sauces, and spreads, as well as smoked fish, and pickled options. The main attraction is the selection of sustainable catches, as well as select ecologically friendly farm-raised options. For shellfish lovers, the shop will carry several sizes of shrimp, all chemical-free. Mussels, clams and oysters will be available as well. The Grand Opening celebration will include product demonstrations and samples. On Friday, May 25th at 12 pm, there will be a live appearance by Jay Towers of Fox 2 and 100.3 FM, who will be on hand to give away prizes like movie passes, Tiger tickets, reusable shopping totes, and more. There will also be a chance to win one of four Bell & Evans turkeys. Here's a recipe for one of my favorite side dishes to prepare for a summer picnic. I hope you'll give it a try. Maybe I'll see you at Joe's! BLT Salad 1 1/2 pounds applewood smoked bacon 2 loaves Italian Ciabatta 2 containers red cherry tomatoes 2 containers yellow super sweet cherry tomatoes 2 heads Romaine Mayonnaise Pesto (recipe below) Method: Cook bacon in oven on parchment covered sheet trays until crispy. Cut into pieces (not bacon bits). While the bacon is cooking, make the pesto. Slice bread in half lengthwise, brush with oil, season and grill. Cut into small-ish cubes. Wash tomatoes and slice in half. Chop and wash romaine. Combine about 1 cup mayonnaise with pesto. Toss all ingredients together and dress with pesto-mayo, adding more as needed. Adjust the seasonings to taste. Basil Pesto 4 cups loosely packed basil leaves, washed and dried 2 cloves garlic, smashed ¾ cup pine nuts, toasted 1 cup grated parmesan cheese (good quality) 2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar (or to taste) 1 – 2 teaspoons salt, or to taste ½ teaspoon white pepper, or to taste 1 to 1 ½ cups olive oil (extra virgin preferred) Method: place basil, garlic, and pine nuts into the bowl of a food processor; puree until smooth, about 20 – 30 seconds with machine running, drizzle in oil, using enough to make a loose paste add cheese and just pulse briefly to combine; taste and season with salt, pepper, and vinegar to taste cover very tightly (it is a good idea to place a layer of plastic wrap directly on top of the surface of the pesto before putting the lid on the container) store up to a week in an air-tight container

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Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Tricks of the Trade - Kitchen Safety

There is a little known secret that chef’s use when chopping up all of their various mise en place. In order to ensure proper safety and avoid slip sliding all over the counter top, chefs often use a clean, wet kitchen towel underneath their cutting boards. This keeps the cutting board firmly in place, making it easier to slice, dice, chop, and julienne, all without the unnecessary risk of cutting oneself. In professional kitchens, chefs of ten use large polyethylene cutting boards, not glass. It is especially important to avoid cutting boards made of glass, as they will ruin high-quality knives. Always be sure to use a sanitized cutting board, and remember to change cutting boards (or treat the cutting board with a sanitizing solution of bleach and water. Certain types of Clorox Wipes also work well) when butchering raw meats and seafood, in combination with other foods. This is to avoid the outbreak of food borne illness, such as salmonella poisoning. Finally, remember to always keep your kitchen knives sharp. It is essential to maintain a sharp edge on cutlery. Dull knives are actually more dangerous than sharp ones. If your knife is in need of sharpening, invest in a small sharpening stone (about $14) from a restaurant supply company like Restaurant Depot or GFS and some mineral oil so you can sharpen your knives at home.

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