Tried & True: Seared Sea Scallops with Asian Influence

2011-01-27 11.13.22This is a recipe I learned in school at Le Cordon Bleu and have since revised and added it to my personal cache. The original recipe serves 8. Here I have scaled it down to serve 4.

People tend to love this recipe as it puts a new twist on a common stir fry by adding the scallops.

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Can American Wine Compare to the French?

carousel_wineSome may inquire as to why a chef or restaurant would choose to serve or carry American wines over the French versions which many consider to be the best. In reality, American wines have continuously stood up to the test against French wines proving to be just as good as and many times better than its French versions.

The American Wine Industry began to get attention in the 1960’s. By the 1970’s, Americans were producing wine that could compete with the French who had been the number 1 wine producers throughout history. Even though American wine was comparable to that of the French, the world still did not accept that any wines could be better than those produced in France.

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Tried & True: Pan-roasted Chicken With Lemon Caper Sauce Over Pasta

Chicken with Lemon Caper Sauce Over PastaThis is one of my wife’s favorites and the pic received a pretty good response on Instagram so I decided to go ahead and post the recipe.

This is something we actually served at the Iron City Grille inside the Holiday Inn Pittsburgh International Airport where I was Kitchen Manager and Head Chef. The building has since been purchased by Robert Morris University and repurposed into a dorm. I have now tweaked and added this dish to my personal repertoire and now you can too!

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Sweet Garlic Chicken Wings

wingsI found this recipe when visiting the blog of a person who liked my post about my Grill Master service. I now am a follower of the blog, Patrons of the Pit.

I am updating my repertoire of grill marinades and other recipes for the upcoming Summer season and Patrons of the Pit seem to have a very nice selection of tested grill recipes to pull from.

I will definitely be trying the following recipe they recently posted. These wings are described as “A salty and sweet affair with a touch of garlic.” Sounds like a winner to me! The recipe also calls for the chicken to be smoked with peach wood; and I can just imagine the sweet smoky flavor now! Here’s the recipe if you are as interested as I am.

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Creative Cocktails: White Sangria and Mock Champagne

whitesangria-mockchampagneSince I posted the Albondigas Soup from the Mexican-inspired romantic dinner I did for a client, I thought I’d post the beverages that were in the menu as well. The White Sangria contains an apple liquor that gives it an especially fruity taste.

The wife loved White Sangria so I made that as her drink for the dinner. She said it was the absolute best she had ever tasted. Her husband did not drink alcohol so I made a Mock Champagne for him which he also loved. I left these recipes behind for them as well. Now you can try them too!

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Tried & True: Albondigas Soup (Mexican Meatball Soup)

albondigas soupI was hired by a client recently to prepare a surprise romantic dinner for his wife in honor of their 5th anniversary. During the initial consultation, I learned that she was a huge fan of Mexican cuisine especially fajitas and spicy dishes, Italian Wedding (or Meatball) soup, chicken, cheesecake, and white Sangria. I also found out that he did not drink alcohol, although she did. The dinner was to be 5 courses so I needed to prepare a menu that included the following courses: appetizer, soup, intermezzo, main, and dessert.

For the appetizer, I selected a simple trio of mini grilled fajitas: one pork, one chicken, and one beef along with sauteed peppers and onions and poblano crema (a spicy Mexican sour cream), guacamole and salsa (both homemade). I knew I wanted to do a sorbet for the intermezzo and eventually chose to do a homemade Mango sorbet which went well with the theme. The main course was a spicy and bittersweet Mexican Mole Chicken served over pan-fried corn off the cob and black beans and rice. For dessert, I made a homemade cheesecake with a fruit salsa of strawberry, kiwi, and banana. Since she loved White Sangria I went with an recipe I had already saved and found a recipe for Mock Champagne for him.

For the soup course, I was a bit stumped until I began to research Italian Wedding soup and saw that its origins were Spanish. I also learned that Wedding soup was also called Meatball soup. Using these facts, I decided to do a take on the Italian Wedding (Meatball) soup and prepare a Albondigas Soup (Albondigas means “meatball”).

They absolutely LOVED the entire meal and the husband especially liked the soup! It was very good and definitely something I will add to my repertoire. The distinctive flavor comes from the fresh mint used in the meatballs and it can also be added directly into the soup itself depending on your tastes. Here’s the recipe so you can try it for yourself!

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Creative Cocktails: Watermelon Breeze

Photo by Kelsey Marie Photography

I don’t know about you but I am ready for a vacation with my wife. I can picture us on the beach now, cocktail in hand. And now that warm weather is approaching some of my favorite fruits such as watermelon will be coming into season, so on that vacation we can finally try the following cocktail recipe I found.

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Tried & True: Grilled Chicken over Lemon Pasta

imagesMade this for the family! Changed it a bit from the original I found on FoodNetwork.com. I added a marinade for the chicken and changed the pasta from penne to spaghetti as we had a ton left over from spaghetti with meat sauce the night before. I also did not cut up the chicken breasts into the pasta. I sliced and laid the chicken breasts on top of the pasta. There were a few other revisions as well. Check out my version of the recipe.