Chef Talk: Summertime & College Cooking by Lynn Dugan

Register TODAY for Chef Lynn’s July 18th Cooking for College Students: Plant Based Eating hands on cooking class.

I just returned from a week with extended family at my parent’s house in Michigan. With 90-degree heat, we minimized our use of the oven during meal prep for the 25 of us.  Most of our cooking was done on the grill except for the enchiladas I had pre-made and frozen ahead of time.  We were all happy that enchiladas cook in just 20 minutes!  But the heat in the kitchen generated from the enchiladas was well worth it. These vegetarian enchiladas- made with shredded sweet potato and lentils- were enjoyed by all.  It is a recipe I was refining for the Cooking for College Students class that I am teaching on July 18 at 6:30pm.  Marcel’s College Cooking class is a perfect opportunity for young adults to learn together in the kitchen; it is always a lot of fun!  Marcel’s hosts a college cooking class twice a year and this is the first vegetarian one we have offered.  It has an amazing menu: Black Bean Avocado Mango Salad, Mexican Creamed Corn, Enchilada Casserole with Sweet Potato, and Coconut Rice Pudding. Please don’t miss it! 

Just like the cooking strategy my family and I had in Michigan, summer is always the ideal time to economize oven use. This Baked Honey Chicken is a recipe for success: cook once, eat twice.  Essentially, use the oven once to produce two delicious meals.  The chicken marinates for 1-4 hours before it’s baked for just 30 minutes.  Half of this cooked chicken is then saved in the refrigerator for the next night’s dinner, Key West Chicken Salad Wraps. The remaining half of the Baked Honey Chicken is served for that night’s yummy Honey Chicken Rice Bowls with Steamed Broccoli.    

Baked Honey Chicken
Serves 4
Print
Ingredients
  1. 2 pounds boneless skinless chicken thighs
  2. 1/3 cup honey
  3. 1/4 cup soy sauce
  4. 1 tablespoon fresh ginger or 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  5. 2 cloves garlic, minced
  6. 1/4 cup sliced scallions
Instructions
  1. Spray a 9x13 baking pan with non-stick cooking spray. Arrange the chicken thighs in a single layer. Mix remaining ingredients in a bowl and pour over chicken. Cover dish with foil and marinade in the refrigerator for 1-4 hours. Turn chicken once midway through marinating time.
  2. When ready to cook, preheat oven to 425 degrees. Place chicken, covered, in oven for 15 minutes. Remove chicken from oven, uncover and turn chicken pieces over, and bake for another 15 minutes, until internal temperature is 165 degrees.
  3. Remove half of the chicken to a covered storage dish. Refrigerate and save for Key West Chicken Salad Lettuce Wraps (recipe below).
  4. Use remaining chicken and the sauce from the baking dish to make Honey Chicken Rice Bowls with Steamed Broccoli (recipe below).
Marcel's Culinary Experience https://www.marcelsculinaryexperience.com/

Chef Talk: Lessons Learned At The Table by Kelly Sears

There are 275 countries in the world; 19 major world religions; 6,500 spoken languages. Food is the one universal. Food has no language barrier, is borderless, and is entry: entry to people, their culture, their families, their lives. 

In a tribute to his friend Anthony Bourdain, Anderson Cooper shared “in places near and far in the world, he talked, tasted, with open mouth, and eyes, and open heart and mind.” Simple, yet with depth; raw and honest, much like the man we think we knew as Anthony Bourdain.

Bourdain expressed “…everywhere in the world, we go, and we ask these very simple questions, what makes you happy, what do you like to eat, what do you cook? We tend to get some really astonishing answers. People are telling you a story when they give you food. If you don’t accept the food, you are, in many cultures, whether in rural Arkansas or Vietnam, you are, rejecting the people.”

   When you sit down with someone and share their food, you are sharing their story.  People are telling you something about themselves with each bite, each sip, each serving.  No matter how small the size of the offering, the gesture is large, and the moment is magic.

We all tell a story through our food. If you listen closely, the dish will share more than the cook will reveal in standard conversation. It’s the ingredient not listed in the recipe, not found on the grocery list. It’s the depth of flavor, the peek inside, that if you are lucky enough, you can taste in each bite.

My husband is a landlord to college students. Our tenants represent the melting pot of not only America, but also the world. If you stay within the confines of your job, the relationship is tenant/landlord. But if you take the time to say hello, learn a name, discover what part of the map is home, doors open, and magic happens; you share a table. He calls them by name, they call him Mr. Dan.

Two young engineering students from a small village outside of Beijing invited us to their apartment to make dumplings. Multi-generational, mom and grandmother were visiting and deftly rolling out dumplings with the speed of a twelve-person assembly line. Every dumpling is the exact shape and size. Once all the dough was ready, it was time to fill.  Their dumplings were perfect, beautifully shaped, properly proportioned. Ours, overstuffed and unable to close. With direction, “the dumpling is the purse, the meat filling the money. Don’t let the money fall out of the purse.” An “ah ha” moment for sure; our dumpling skills improved. The meal was set out on two card tables, served on paper plates, with lots of chairs crammed around the tables. Make room for what’s important, worry less about what’s not.

Several young men from Saudi Arabia invited Mr. Dan to stay for coffee after he fixed their leaky faucet.  They set a cup in front of him and filled it half way. Mr. Dan said, only half a cup? The host then shared that his father, and his grandfather before him, taught him that you invite someone to stay by only filling their cup halfway. This way, the cup will constantly need to be filled, a little bit at a time, encouraging the guest to continue to stay and visit. When you fill the cup all the way, you are inviting them to leave; as in, This WILL be your only cup!  Half full leaves you room for more.

We invited some new tenants, a lovely Hispanic couple, over to teach us how to make tamales. We spoke with our hands, so we could understand one another. When I was about to add water in with the masa, my hand was tapped, and an index finger waved no-no.  She pointed to the pot where the pork had slow cooked and then back to the masa bowl. Yes, of course! Water tastes like water, but pork juice tastes delicious!!  We followed the leader and tied the husks. We counted hands and realized twelve hands make a hundred tamales easier than two. Share the work and it doesn’t feel like work.

After long holiday breaks, some would return with gifts for Mr. Dan, gifts from their home: tea leaves as fragrant as the small-town countryside, homemade candies and sweets from their villages, silk scarves, a Qur’an. Share a dumpling, a coffee, a tamale; open a door to a connection. This is me, this is how I live.

We spend a lot of time watching food TV, taking pictures of food, posting food but how much time do we spend breaking bread.  We look down into phones instead of up into experiences.  We can probably identify people by the parts in their hair rather than the colors of their eyes. How much time do we spend listening and connecting (the wireless kind).

Whether it’s a kitchen table, dining table, picnic table or folding table, pull up a chair and gather round. Eat what’s offered off the fork. People open up when you nod and say “yes please” to the plate being passed. More tales are told, more stories shared. It’s the first step to a connection, to listening.

May your purse hold money, your coffee cup never completely full, may you talk and taste with an open mouth, and eyes, with an open heart and mind. I know you’ll never leave hungry.

Bread can be sliced, dipped, slathered or torn, goes with any meal, can be served piping hot, toasted or stale tossed in a salad. Most recipes make two loaves, or in this case, rolls. Break Bread and Connect.

Pepper Bacon Bread
Yields 20
Print
Ingredients
  1. 340 grams Russet or Yukon Gold Potatoes
  2. 70 grams reserved Potato Cooking Liquid
  3. 14 grams reserved bacon fat (can substitute butter here)
  4. 1 teaspoon instant yeast
  5. 332 grams all-purpose flour
  6. 9 grams sea salt
  7. 72 grams bacon, cooked and crumbed (fat reserved, see above)
  8. 5 grams coarse black pepper (may prefer 3 grams if making rolls)
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees one hour prior to baking (baking vessel too)
  2. Boil potatoes (unpeeled) until tender, about 15-20 minutes
  3. Reserve 70 grams of the cooking water; set aside potatoes and liquid to cool
  4. Once cooled, mash the potatoes
  5. In a mixing bowl, combine the mashed potatoes, reserved cooking liquid, bacon fat and instant yeast. Stir to combine
  6. Add half the flour and stir well (the mixture will be crumbly)
  7. Add the rest of the flour and the sea salt and stir. The mixture will seem very dry
  8. Use your hands and squeeze, press, and knead the mixture until it comes together as a dough
  9. Scrape the mass of dough on to a work surface and knead the dough 5-6 minutes. The dough will start out quite stiff and dry but will moisten over time
  10. Press the dough into a rectangle, top with bacon and pepper. Knead for a couple more minutes to incorporate the bacon and pepper
  11. Place in an oiled container, cover with plastic and ferment for 30 minutes
  12. After 30 minutes, fold the dough, cover again and let rest for 30 minutes
  13. After 30 minutes, the dough is ready to be shaped (loaf, batard or rolls)
  14. Proof the dough for 45 minutes to an hour; it should swell nicely and have a springy texture
  15. Once the loaf has risen, score the top from end to end
  16. Bake for 30-40 minutes until golden browned
Adapted from Zingerman’s, Ann Arbor, MI
Adapted from Zingerman’s, Ann Arbor, MI
Marcel's Culinary Experience https://www.marcelsculinaryexperience.com/

Chef Talk: My New Favorite Word… Potluck by Jamie Bordoshuk

What happens when you want to host the party, but the thought of pulling together a meal for eight, twelve or (gulp) sixteen people takes the wind right out of your sails? You pull out the best trick in the book – potluck.  

I haven’t always been so smart. For years, my wife Rondi and I would invite people over for dinner and brush off their “what can we bring?” with an immediate “Nothing! Just bring yourselves” response. Those four little words invariably led to four (or more) days of planning, prepping and preparing.  

No more.

This past Easter, my two nieces and I were deciding who was going to host the get-together when one of them suggested a potluck.  Hmmm … interesting idea.  “I’m in,” my niece Marcie said, “but my house is torn up for the kitchen remodel.”  “I’m in,” my niece Mindy said, “but we’re just getting back from Florida the day before.”  “I can do it here,” I announced, “but it’s still going to be a pot luck!” 

Best decision I ever made.

The guest list eventually rose to 20 people, and as each guest was added to my growing list I simply asked them to bring their specialty.  Marcie brought two fabulous flatbreads as our appetizer.  Mindy was quick to claim the smoked ham.  My sister Sarah brought her famous “Party Potatoes” (yes, that’s a real thing), Kay brought the lamb cake, and Nikki rounded out the party with Mimosa and Bloody Mary fixings.

Since this party was all about bringing your specialty, I decided to spend my Saturday afternoon making Mom’s homemade sauerkraut and bacon pierogies – a Bordoshuk family favorite. They came out beautifully and would never have been possible without my new favorite word … potluck.  

Sauerkraut and Bacon Pierogi
Print
Dough
  1. 3 cups all-purpose flour
  2. 4 eggs
  3. 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  4. 3/4 to 1 cup water (as needed)
Sauerkraut Filling
  1. ½ pound thick-cut bacon, cut into lardons
  2. 1 16 ounce package of sauerkraut
  3. 1 teaspoon caraway seeds
  4. 1 medium yellow onion
  5. 1 stick butter
Instructions
  1. Mix flour, eggs, salt and 3/4 cup water together to form dough, adding more water as needed to form a ball. Let dough rest for 1/2 hour.
  2. In a sauté pan, cook bacon lardons over medium heat until just before crisp (approx 10 min) and remove to paper-towel covered plate. In bacon drippings, brown onion until translucent, (approx 6-8 minutes). Add sauerkraut and caraway seeds. Heat until sauerkraut just starts to brown. Let cool.
  3. Cut dough ball into 6 equal pieces. On a floured surface, roll out dough to form a rectangle about 1/8 inch thick. Cut dough into 8 pieces. Drop 1/2 to 3/4 teaspoon of sauerkraut mixture onto on side. Brush dough edge with water, fold over other edge of dough, crimping edge with fork to seal. Continue process until dough and sauerkraut are gone.
  4. In rapidly boiling salted water, drop in 10 to 12 pierogis and cook for 8 minutes. Remove with slotted spoon to cool. In a sauté pan, melt 1 tablespoon butter and cook pierogi, (3 to 4 at a time), until brown and crisp on each side.
  5. Serve immediately with a sprinkling of kosher salt.
Marcel's Culinary Experience https://www.marcelsculinaryexperience.com/

Chef Talk: Recipe Testing – The Good, The Bad and The Ugly by Kiley Fields

Cooking Mad Lib:

“I found a recipe online for (insert dish of choice) Coq au Vin. I followed the recipe exactly, and it (fill in the blank with a negative outcome) tasted like a rubber shoe after I spent hours in the kitchen with the highest expectations for a fantastic meal at home. What did I do wrong?”

To be honest, probably nothing. Just because you found it on the internet doesn’t mean it’s true. And it doesn’t mean the recipe was tested either. Although a dish sounds amazing, sometimes executing it through a well written (or posted) recipe is a bit more challenging.

 As a chef instructor writing and testing recipes is one of the more tedious yet rewarding parts of my job. I don’t recall ever writing a recipe perfectly the first time. There is almost always a re-write, or two…or five. And, depending on the mood I am in or the recipe I am testing, sometimes the test is done on a controlled group of one (me!) or a large cackle of friends.

I have learned over time that there is a right way and wrong way to seek feedback while testing recipes.

  1. Don’t overserve the testers before serving the food – I had a group of girlfriends over to test cocktails and appetizers – after the fourth cocktail they “L-O-V-E-D” everything. Seriously?

  1. Don’t expect your starving teenager to give thoughtful feedback – After he downed a plate of mussels in sofrito and polished off a grilled octopus salad he said was “ok” and asked if there was any leftover pizza.
  1. Be clear that you are seeking their feedback (not their co-workers) – I gave a friend a plate of whoopie pies. I ran in to her a few days later and she said she didn’t want the “calories” in the house so she put them in the lunchroom at work.

And although the recipe successes have outnumbered the failures…failures have existed. “I like the flavor, but the texture kind of makes me want to vomit.” That response is probably my favorite – that was definitely a “back to the drawing board” moment. Shout out to the “honesty”…but man that was a shot to the ego!

Anyone who cooks can relate – there is unbelievable pleasure in making someone happy through food. I am always appreciative of those that are willing to try and retry my food to make me better at what I do. Because, at the end of the day, a good, well tested, solidly written recipe makes my kitchen (and yours) a better place to be. 

P.S. Here are some of my favorite more reliable, almost always tested, online recipe resources: marcelsculinaryexperience.com; seriouseats.com; cooksillustrated.com; and thekitchn.com.

One-Bite Chocolate Whoopie Pies
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For cakes
  1. 1/2 cup butter, softened
  2. 1 cup brown sugar
  3. 1 teaspoon espresso powder
  4. 1 teaspoon baking powder
  5. 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  6. 3/4 teaspoon salt
  7. 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  8. 1 egg
  9. 1/2 cup cocoa powder
  10. 2 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
  11. 1 cup whole milk
For filling
  1. 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened, but still cool
  2. 1/2 cup, plus 2 tablespoons confectioners’ sugar
  3. 3/4 teaspoons vanilla bean paste
  4. pinch of salt
  5. 1 1/4 cup Marshmallow Fluff
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. In stand mixer on low speed mix together butter, sugar, espresso powder, baking powder, baking soda, salt and vanilla, until smooth. Add egg and mix until incorporated, then add cocoa powder and mix to combine. In alternating additions, add flour and milk in three parts, stopping to scrape down sides of bowl as needed. Mix until batter is uniform with no lumps.
  3. To bake cakes, line rimmed baking sheets with parchment. Transfer batter to piping bag and snip off tip of bag. Pipe batter, about 1-1/2 inch in diameter, on to parchment lined baking sheet, leaving room between cakes as they will spread. A standard size 12” x 18” baking sheet should fit 36 cakes (4 cakes across by 9 cakes long). Bake the cakes until set and firm to touch, about 6-8 minutes. Let cakes cool slightly on baking sheets. While still lukewarm, peel cakes away from parchment and let cool completely.
  4. To make filling, in stand mixer, on medium speed, beat butter and sugar together until fluffy. Add vanilla bean paste and salt and mix to combine. Beat in fluff on medium speed until well incorporated and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Transfer filling to piping bag and refrigerate until slightly firm, about 30 minutes.
  5. To assemble, pipe filling on one cake and top with second cake. Whoopie pies can be enjoyed immediately or stored in air-tight container in refrigerator if not enjoyed within 30 minutes. Bring whoopie pies to room temperature before serving.
Marcel's Culinary Experience https://www.marcelsculinaryexperience.com/

Chef Talk: Maison – Bringing The Chef To You by Paul Lindemuth

Maison is beautiful French word that, according to the Cambridge Dictionary, translates to “house, household, home.”  It is the perfect word to embody the wonderful addition to the Marcel’s and Marché family. 

Maison was launched last year, and now 4 chefs from the Marcel’s culinary team pack up their knives, pots, pans and prep gear to bring the chef experience to your home.  We also have a group of talented and professional staff working alongside us to create the perfect celebration.

Here’s how it all works:  An initial conversation with the client determines date, time and guest count as well as any specific event details. A Maison chef is scheduled and begins work on a very personal planned menu that focuses on great taste and seasonal flavors. The chef will embrace every detail of the event, assessing any dietary restrictions, the need for any rentals of tableware and linens, floral arrangements, as well as making wine and beverage suggestions.  

  On event day the chef and staff arrive early to load in, unpack, set up and complete prep and cooking.  Staff also assist with table setting, wine chilling, cocktail mixing and creating beautiful platters for passed appetizers.  Guests arrive, cocktails and appetizers flow, dinner and wine are served and dessert is presented.  At the end of the evening the chef and staff roll up their sleeves for final clean up before saying their goodbyes.   

 

We’ve had the pleasure of being part of milestone birthdays and anniversaries, a vow renewal ceremony and celebration, two full hands-on evenings where the guests prepped and cooked alongside us, as well as some fun and casual gatherings for family and friends. 

We’ve also had one event that began al fresco with a beautiful table set in the back yard.  Then the rain started.  Our team seamlessly moved everything indoors, shuffling furniture to accommodate tables and chairs, putting soggy linens in the dryer, polishing damp glassware and flatware, and resetting the tables – (all without missing a beat) while simultaneously serving cocktails and appetizers to the guests.  And never without a smile on their faces!

The greatest compliment we’ve received (and more than once) was “this was perfect and I was able to be a guest at my own party”.

So when you have an occasion for a celebration, whether big or small, formal or casual, call us and let us bring the party to your maison!

Salmon Poached in Escabeche
Serves 8
Print
Ingredients
  1. 2 pounds fresh salmon, cut into 2” chunks
  2. 2 tablespoons kosher salt
  3. 1 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper
  4. 2 tablespoons sweet Spanish pimentón
  5. 2 cups virgin olive oil
  6. ⅔ cup cider vinegar
  7. ½ cup dry white wine
  8. 4 bay leaves
  9. 10 sprigs flat leaf parsley
  10. 2 sprigs fresh thyme
  11. 2 yellow onions, peeled, trimmed and thinly sliced
  12. 2 large carrots, peeled, trimmed and thinly sliced
  13. 8 cloves garlic, peeled and thinly sliced
Instructions
  1. Lay the salmon pieces in a shallow pot, large enough to keep the salmon in one layer. Sprinkle the salt, pepper and pimenton over the salmon. Toss the salmon lightly to evenly coat.
  2. Pour the olive oil, vinegar and wine into the pot. Add the thyme, parsley sprigs, bay leaves, onions, carrots and garlic.
  3. Place the pot over medium heat. Bring slowly to a boil and then turn the heat off immediately the moment the first bubble appears.
  4. Cover with a lid, set aside and let the salmon cook in the retained heat while releasing its juices, about 10 minutes.
  5. Transfer to small plates and serve with some of the poaching liquid and vegetables on top.
Marcel's Culinary Experience https://www.marcelsculinaryexperience.com/

Chef Talk: My New Relationship With Yeast by Kelly Sears

After the cork pops, the ball drops, and all the decorations are put away, it’s time for the resolutions; the promises.  The time when we vow to turn the shoulda, coulda, woulda’s from the past year into motion in the new one.

The New Year to me is a clean sheet of white paper and a box of ten new pencils.  I love pencils, they allow forgiveness; a quick erase and the to-do list of twenty can become fifteen with just a flip upside down and a couple of sturdy set of swipes from left to right. Pencils allow for breathing room, edits, scratch outs and drafts.  Pen is permanent and seems super strict. For those of you under 25, a pencil is made of wood, has a strip of graphite running down the middle, starts sharp, after a series of bright ideas and big plans, whittles down to dull, can be sharpened again and you hold it in your hand and write on paper. Genius!

With the clean sheet of paper and the sharp new pencil, I write a list of things I would like to learn in the new year. My list rarely includes quitting a bad habit, losing pounds, or starting some new system.  These seem like processes to me; adjustments that require life changes to be successful, and a completely different blog post!

Some years the list includes things I fear, some years it includes things I haven’t made time for, in other years, on the list is something I think I should know, and yet others, that list includes something that seems really cool to know. In 2017 among other things, my list included learning to knit (epic fail), trying bungee Pilates (the comedic value alone was worth the effort), make a really good pie (satisfying), and baking a better loaf of bread (yes!!).

I’m not sure how I could have a friendship that has withstood forty years and a marriage of nearly thirty, and I couldn’t figure out how to have a relationship with yeast.  Sometimes, getting better at something starts with one move, deciding to do so. Whatever material you built the wall from to mentally stop you from doing it, is usually not made of kryptonite and usually crumbles once you make the decision to take action. Even doing nothing is doing something.

Back to bread, I enrolled myself in a four day boot camp in Ann Arbor at Zingerman’s Bakehouse.  For four days I surrounded myself with all things yeast and dough, shut my mouth and opened my ears.  Life Changing!

I embraced this new skill with gusto.  Soon I was baking six or seven loaves of bread a week and had multiple varieties of sourdough starter feasting. I purchased proofing baskets, lames, linen couches, and cast iron loaf pans.  My countertops continually had something rising at different stages and I asked my husband if he could build me a proofing box.  It was at this point, I got the look.  The look you get after nearly thirty years of marriage, the one that requires no words.  This look, in my world, usually translates to “perhaps we are taking this bread thing a bit too far;” grab some reins, apply the brakes.

He’s usually right.  My new found skills tend to teeter on obsession.  In my quest to master, I forget time and space, I forget the real reason I began the journey to begin with.  Learning a skill is all about empowerment; education + knowledge = power.  Once you learn how to do something you didn’t know how to do before, you no longer have to rely on others to do something for you.  Intrepidation is stifling. Remove hesitation and the results are unharnessed creativity and freedom.

As with most things one fears, once you face it, it’s never that scary, and the lessons learned transcend just bread making and baking.  On the journey to soft rolls, French loaves, cinnamon swirl breakfast bread, multigrain sandwich loaf, sourdough boules, crusty peasant bread, and warm brioche, this is what happened…..

Patience– like good conversation, friendship, wine, and marriage, a really good loaf of bread takes time

Renewed commitment – sourdough starter, when ignored for too long dies, if you feed it a little everyday it flourishes.  It only takes a little energy every day to keep the fire burning, without it, the light will go out.

Trust your instincts – even if the instructions say one thing, listen, smell, taste, adjust; follow your gut

Create a good environment – goodness thrives in a happy place

Recycle – stale bread = croutons, toast, and bread crumbs, heals are the best part of the loaf and make the best mop to sop of the bottom of the bowl, mistakes still taste good even if they don’t look good, save some of the dough to create the next loaf, old dough makes new dough taste better

Close your mouth and open your ears – it’s amazing what you can hear when you turn your voice off and your ears on!

Share – most recipes yield two loaves for a reason; eat one, share one.  They taste better that way.

Whatever your paper and pencil have in store for you this New Year, embrace the results.  Even with epic fails, you never stop learning. Keep tweaking; adjusting, trying new things, you just might learn something completely different along the way.

 

Warm Dinner Rolls
Print
Ingredients
  1. 12.5 ounces water (room temperature)
  2. .375 ounces instant yeast
  3. 21 ounces bread flour
  4. 2 teaspoons salt
  5. 1 ounce sugar
  6. .5 ounce non-fat milk solids
  7. 2 ounces butter, softened
  8. Egg wash: one egg, one tablespoon milk
  9. Sea salt for sprinkling on top
Instructions
  1. In a large bowl combine the water, yeast and half the bread flour. Stir together until the mixture is shaggy. Add the rest of the ingredients.
  2. Using a bench scraper, spin the bowl as you scoop around the outside of the bowl, tossing the dough towards the middle of the bowl with each turn. Once the dough comes together in a rough ball, spill the dough out onto the counter (no flour!). Work the dough together into a tighter ball and then knead until the dough is soft and smooth. Press the inside of your wrist against the dough, if it doesn’t stick, the dough is ready to rest. (this process should take about five minutes or a little less if you put a little muscle into it)
  3. Place dough in an lightly oiled ball, cover and proof until double in size- about an hour in the right conditions – around 80-85 degrees.
  4. Scale the dough into 1 oz. size; Make up rolls into desired shapes. Place rolls 2 inches apart on paper-lined baking sheets. Proof until double in size (about 30-45 minutes).
  5. Egg wash; dust with salt, bake at 400 degrees until brown – about 20 minutes.
Marcel's Culinary Experience https://www.marcelsculinaryexperience.com/

 

Chef Talk: Something for Everyone at the Holiday Table: What to Serve Guests with Food Allergies and Diet Restrictions by Lynn Dugan

Your family will be together in a few short weeks and you are already stressing about the holiday meal you are hosting.  Aunt Susie is newly gluten free.  You also think your brother’s girlfriend is a vegan.  What should you do to accommodate these dietary restrictions? Most importantly, how can you be a good host while managing the menu and keeping your sanity?

I can help!  As a Registered Dietitian, I know about meal restrictions and accommodations. I also love to entertain and know the challenges in meal planning and food preparation when dealing with different diet demands.  And, my oldest son has a life threatening nut allergy.  Every holiday, I work with the host to understand the menu and determine what I need to make to supplement the meal for his benefit.

So, here is your game plan in three simple steps:

  1. Understand your guest’s dietary restrictions. 2. Work out the base menu. 3. Communicate the menu and recruit help with preparation.
  1. Don’t begin meal planning until you understand the dietary restrictions. After making it clear to your guests that you look forward to being together, ask the questions necessary to best understand the restrictions. Vegan is a diet free of animal products (including meats, fish, dairy, butter, eggs) but does your vegan guest avoid honey, too? How sensitive is the gluten restriction? I have gluten-free friends who eat bread on occasion but none of my celiac friends can tolerate even cross contamination from cutting boards, knives, toasters, measuring cups, frying oil and baking sheets. The conversations you have with step one are a good place to begin as it shows your concern for your guests, that their well-being is your priority. You can also gauge how open they will be to making and bringing a dish to supplement your meal. That takes us to step #2.
  1. Plan the menu. Your guiding principle for menu planning is to have something for everyone at the Holiday table but not everything has to be for everyone. Consider what I call the ‘red light’ foods for each dietary restriction and pick a menu item that suits everyone.  Red lights for gluten free are always anything made with wheat flour: regular bread, stuffing, crackers, pasta, and rolls.  You’ll be able to offer a gluten-free side dish when using rice, wild rice, potatoes, corn or quinoa to replace wheat.

As already mentioned, the red light for vegans are any animal products – meats and poultry, fish, dairy products, honey. Make sure you offer a menu item that contains a significant protein source like adding beans or legumes to a wild rice casserole, or offering a quinoa-based dish or any dish featuring legumes or lentils. A bowl of mixed nuts on the table can also offer an additional source of protein for the vegan diet.

Side dishes that can work for everyone are typically potatoes, vegetables, salads, fruits and nuts when prepared without the red-light ingredients and prepared with dairy substitutes like soymilk and vegetable oil spreads.

  1. Share the menu with your guests and recruit help. Most people like to bring something. And they are best able to adapt to their own dietary restrictions. While sharing the menu, it is important to communicate any diet restrictions that they might not be familiar with (like telling the gluten-free aunt you have a vegan guest coming). Let your guest know you’ll need them to keep track of any ‘red light’ ingredients in their dishes so you can communicate those during the holiday meal. If your party is small, you can easily point out acceptable dishes. If your party is large, it may be helpful to mark foods as GF or Vegan using a tented name card/place card. Remember, your goal is to have something for everyone but not everything has to be for everyone! 

By following these three steps and making some easy adaptations to the traditional Holiday dinner, your guests will feel welcomed, special and included.

I have highlighted my Warm Sweet Potato Lentil and Apple Salad Bowl.  It is vegan and gluten-free.  Each step of the recipe can be made in advance and assembled warm just before mealtime.  Happy Holidays!

Warm Sweet Potato, Lentil and Apple Salad Bowl
Serves 4
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Ingredients
  1. 1-1/2 tablespoons olive oil
  2. 2 pounds sweet potatoes peel and dice
  3. 1 small red onion, large dice
  4. 1 tablespoon fresh rosemary (or 1 teaspoon dried)
  5. Salt and pepper
  6. 8 ounces mushrooms (button or cremini), sliced
  7. 2 cloves minced garlic
  8. 2 stalks celery, sliced
  9. 4 small tart apples (Jonathon or Cortland), dice
  10. 1 cup cooked lentils
  11. 1 cup balsamic vinegar
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven 425 degrees.
  2. Make balsamic glaze: place balsamic vinegar in a small saucepan and gently simmer for 20 to 30 minutes until the glaze is reduced by half, is thick and coats the back of a spoon (consistency of chocolate syrup). Set aside.
  3. Place potatoes and onions on baking sheet and toss with 1 tablespoon olive oil. Sprinkle with rosemary, salt and pepper. Roast high in oven for 20 minutes, until tender.
  4. Meanwhile, sauté mushrooms, garlic and celery in 1/2 tablespoon oil until mushrooms and celery are softened. Salt and pepper, to taste. Add apples and cook until just warm.
  5. Pour contents of sauté pan into a large bowl. Add roasted potatoes and lentils; stir to combine. Garnish with balsamic glaze.
Marcel's Culinary Experience https://www.marcelsculinaryexperience.com/

Chef Talk: Turkey Sanity by Robin Nathan

 Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays.  It’s all about family, friends, food, and gratitude – a combination that’s hard to beat.  With one possible exception… roasting the turkey. How can one successfully roast this holiday classic without being accused of turkey-cide?

 

For years I have experimented with different methods.  One year, I butterflied the turkey (sometimes known as “spatchcocking” ), a simple process of cutting out the turkey’s backbone and flattening the bird in an effort to reduce cooking time.  Bad move.  It wasn’t until after I had removed the backbone and flattened the turkey that I realized I didn’t have a pan big enough to accommodate the sprawling bird other than a sheet pan.  Please believe me when I tell you that you cannot successfully roast a 13 pound turkey on a sheet pan without starting an oven fire and setting off every smoke alarm in your home.

 

Other attempts, perhaps less dramatic, include flipping the bird from back up, to breast up, half way through the process to insure a juicy breast – messy and not particularly effective; and brining – a step that is easily avoided by shelling out a few extra bucks for a kosher turkey (which is brined as part of the koshering process).

 

Chef Robin’s Herb Roasted Turkey (12-14 Pounds)
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For the Butter
  1. 1 cup unsalted butter at room temperature
  2. 3 cloves garlic, minced
  3. 1 large handful mixed herbs, minced (thyme, sage, rosemary, parsley)
  4. sea salt to taste
  5. 1 12-14 Pound Turkey, giblets removed
  6. sea salt
  7. 2 yellow onion, quartered
  8. 4 stalks celery, halved
  9. 4 carrots, halved
  10. 1 cup water or chicken broth
Instructions
  1. Make the butter by combining all ingredients in a small bowl. Following the directions in the above article, place the butter beneath the skin of the turkey’s breast. Rub any remaining butter on the turkey and sprinkle with additional salt and pepper. Place the half the vegetables inside the turkey’s cavity. Place additional vegetables on the bottom of the roasting pan. Pour the broth over the vegetables in the bottom of the pan. Place the prepared turkey on top of the vegetables.
  2. Place the turkey in a preheated 400 oven and roast, undisturbed until the breast registers 160. Pour in up to another cup of broth if the vegetables on the bottom threaten to burn. Remove from the oven, tent with foil and let rest 20 minutes. Take the temperature of the thigh. If below 175, cut the breast from the carcass and set it aside, and return the dark portion to the oven until it reaches 175. Carve both and serve with gravy made from drippings, if desired. It will take approximately 1 ½-2 hours to reach 160 if the turkey is unstuffed and you do not open the oven door to baste. Now relax and enjoy the holiday!!
Marcel's Culinary Experience https://www.marcelsculinaryexperience.com/
What makes roasting a whole turkey so darned frustrating in the first place?  The biggest obstacle to overcome is that the dark meat is considered “done” at 175-180° and the breast is done at 160°.  The other complicating factor is that the turkey must rest, depending on its size, for 30-45 minutes, which will allow juices to redistribute and keep you from frying your hands while you try to carve it.  Another complicating factor is stuffing.  I highly recommend NOT stuffing the turkey.  First, it’s a health hazard, as stuffing must cook to a different internal temperature (165°) than either the breast or the dark meat, and just as importantly, significantly increases the roasting time.  What else significantly increases cooking time?? Basting.  Please stop basting that turkey.  Basting does not add flavor or moisture to a turkey – nothing is getting through that skin, believe me, and all you are doing is reducing your oven’s temperature by 50 degrees every time you open that darn door. 

 

So what’s the answer/answers?? Here’s what I recommend.

First, consider purchasing turkey parts.  If you are cooking for a large group, especially a group that has preferences of dark meat or white meat, and it’s not important for you to show off a whole bird, buy one or two breasts and enough drumsticks and thighs to satisfy your group.  This will allow you to start the dark meat first, giving a head start to 175, and pop the breast in about 30 minutes later.

 

Second, make a flavorful compound butter to put BETWEEN the turkey’s flesh and skin.  Mix room temperature unsalted butter with your favorite fresh or dried herbs, a drizzle of maple syrup or a squirt of sriracha if that’s your thing.  Slide your hands carefully between the turkey’s flesh and breast skin, breaking the tiny tendons that hold it in place.  Scoop up some of the butter on a spoon, lift the skin and slide in the spoon, using your fingers on top to slide the butter off.  Smoosh it around to flatten it and keep going until you’ve created a large pancake of butter on both sides of the breast.  Rub any remaining on the skin.  This will flavor and moisten the breast.

 

Third, if you must roast a whole turkey, do not stuff it or baste it.  Use a probe thermometer (which snakes through the oven door and beeps at the temperature you’ve set) inserted into the thickest part of the breast.  BREAST, not thigh.  Roast to an internal temperature of 160.  Remove the turkey from the oven and let it rest 30 minutes, keeping an eye on the internal temperature of the thigh.  After the turkey has rested 15 minutes, if the thigh meat is below 160, cut the breasts from the turkey and return the dark meat to the oven until it’s reached 175, which won’t take but 15-20 minutes longer.  You can pump up the oven temperature if you like – it’s impossible to dry out dark meat.

Pesto Pronto by Brandy Fernow

As a chef instructor, people always ask me “do you cook like this at home every night?” And my answer is a swift “nope!” Yes, I am a chef, but I am also a busy mom of two active 1st and 2nd grade boys. That means I’m running all week from school, to sports, to cub scouts, volunteering, doing homework, playdates, cleaning, cooking, and of course teaching classes at Marcels!

So no, I don’t cook every night and it’s certainly not a gourmet meal every night either. We do eat at home every night and I have learned to cook smart. Cook one night, then turn that into 2 more meals that I can make in 15 minutes or less.

One of my favorite go-to’s for this technique is a simple pesto sauce. What probably comes to mind is the traditional basil, parmesan, pine nuts and olive oil. I certainly make this version to toss over pasta or accompany chicken, but I also use the same fundamentals to make a dozen other “pestos” which to me is generally an herb, nut, cheese and oil – whipped together in seconds with the help of my food processor.

Now – to make this a million other ways, you just swap the herb, nut and cheese combos. For example, Mexican night – use cilantro, pepitas, queso or cotija cheese, and a dash of red pepper flake. Or sweeten it up a bit by swapping arugula for basil, pecans for pine nuts, adding 2 tablespoons of honey and ½ cup ricotta. Or try parsley, almonds, and asiago.

This way you can pour over ANYTHING! Pesto variations are great poured over steak pork, chicken or fish, tossed with pasta, quinoa or favorite grain, drizzled over roasted veggies, you name it.

Bonus – you can freeze in portions and re-use. Why haul out that food processor more than once? Make big batches of a few kinds and freeze in portions. Pull out and enjoy on that frenzied night you’re trying to get something fresh, but fast on the table.
I’m featuring this favorite pesto technique in a private event this month at Marcels for a group of moms looking to cook once, eat twice. We are serving the pesto over flank steak, then recycling it to a pasta for the next meal. If you have a group that is looking to learn something specific or want to have a good time with your friends, let Marcels know and they can customize your own private event!

Fresh Basil Pesto
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Ingredients
  1. 2 cups fresh basil leaves
  2. ¼ cup toasted pine nuts
  3. Zest and juice of a lemon
  4. Handful of fresh parmesan
Instructions
  1. Add all to a food processor and add olive oil until you have you preferred consistency. Add salt and pepper to taste
Marcel's Culinary Experience https://www.marcelsculinaryexperience.com/

Salt & Pepper by Jamie Bordoshuk

I’ve been teaching kids how to cook for the past 15 years and I feel like I have the best job in the world. My students range from 6 year olds who can barely see over the counter to teens whose favorite foods include sushi, crispy seared duck breast and roasted bone marrow. 

While my Mother was not a gourmet cook, she was a master in the kitchen. Cooking for her was more than a necessity, it was a true labor of love. For her, measuring was an option and not a rule. Her ‘go-to’ spices were salt and pepper. And she was one of those people who could turn three ingredients into family dinner in under 30 minutes. I’m thankful that she passed that skill down to me, and find myself sharing her wisdom and tips with my students every time I teach a class. 

There’s nothing better to me than having one of my students come back to see me at Marcel’s or sign-up for another class or kid’s camp. They tell me stories of how they made dinner for their family from the recipes that we learned in class. To hear how excited they were to show off their talents, explore different foods and cultures and how much their families enjoyed their meal is wonderful. That to me makes teaching our next generation a real treasure. 

At the end of each class, I always ask my students the same question, “What makes almost every dish taste better?”. And they all shout in unison, “Salt and pepper!” Thanks, Mom.

Salisbury Steak with Mushroom Gravy
Serves 4
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Ingredients
  1. 1 lb ground beef
  2. 1/4 cup onion diced
  3. 1 egg beaten
  4. 2 tablespoons of ketchup
  5. 2 tablespoons of Dijon mustard, divided
  6. 2 tablespoons of Worcestershire sauce, divided
  7. 1/3 cup Panko bread crumbs
  8. 1 teaspoon of kosher salt
  9. 1/2 teaspoon of ground black pepper
  10. 2 tablespoons of bacon fat or olive oil, divided
  11. 1 medium onion, finely sliced
  12. 8 oz. cremini mushrooms, quartered
  13. 2 tablespoons of flour
  14. 2 cups beef broth or consommé
  15. Parsley to garnish
Instructions
  1. In a bowl combine the ground beef, diced onion, egg, ketchup, one tablespoon of mustard, one tablespoon of Worcestershire sauce, Panko breadcrumbs and salt and pepper. Knead by hand until combined. Form into 4 oval patties to give them a "steak" appearance.
  2. Heat a large non-stick skillet until very hot. Add 1 tablespoon of bacon fat or oil and then patties. Sear patties to a crispy brown on each side for several minutes until no longer pink inside. Remove from pan and set aside on a paper towel lined plate and cover to keep warm.
  3. Add the other tablespoon of bacon fat or oil to the pan and sauté the sliced onion until golden brown over medium heat. Add the mushrooms, remaining tablespoon of mustard and Worcestershire sauce and cook for several minutes. Mushrooms will release water so cook mixture down for several minutes. Sprinkle flour over mixture and stir, cooking for another minute. Slowly add the beef stock and stir to mix and lower heat to low. Simmer for several minutes, sauce will thicken. Season to taste.
  4. Add the “steaks” back to the pan and nestle in the sauce. Cover and cook for 2-3 minutes to heat through. Serve over mashed potatoes and pour mushroom onion gravy over each Salisbury steak. Sprinkle with parsley to garnish.
Marcel's Culinary Experience https://www.marcelsculinaryexperience.com/