Sunday, June 25, 2006

Shredded Chicken Barbecue!

Here's an awesome method for making your own easy Chicken Barbecue Sandwich!

5 Boneless, Skinless Chicken Thighs--trimmed of excess fat pockets
1/2 bottle of your favorite Barbecue Sauce
1/2 bottle of your favorite Beer
1 Medium onion cut in half and sliced
1 Green Pepper cut into 1/2 chop
1 Garlic clove chopped (optional)
1/2 tsp dried hot pepper flakes (unless you are using a hot suace)

Add all ingredients to crock pot cook on low for 6-8 hours. If sauce is still soupy transfer to pot on stove and bring to gently boil and simmer till thickened. Shred the chicken pieces with two forks.

Serve on nice and thick pita's with a dollop of coleslaw on top! Yummmmmmeeee!

Tomorrow roasted asparagus with Pancetta!
Later in the week roasted tomatoes w/onions and pancetta over Penne!
Stay tuned for results!

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Boneless Leg of Lamb revisited!

Dinner was sauteed mushrooms, red onion pieces, garlic, oregano, leftover cubes of lamb with lemon juice, reduced chicken stock and a splash of Balsamic vinegar served on a pita with Tzitzaki with cucumber, red onion and dill. We had Couscous salad with olives, green pepper, celery, roasted red pepper, and chopped Campari tomatoes, dressed with a lemon parsley vinaigrette and sprinkled with sun-dried tomato flakes!

Simple, quick and fresh tasting! Excellent was the compliment!


Everyone knows that living today’s “world wide web” lifestyle has resulted in the loss of many daily routines. Most have taken a back seat to the electronic composition that clutters our lives. As a Personal Chef, I tend to get a birds eye view of the processes that overtake a household with career-minded parents and over-scheduled children.

First we know that electronic gadgets abound!

Stodgy briefcases, fashionable tote bags and overstuffed back packs all contain a variety of electronic devices ranging from the quintessential lifeline, (the how did we ever do without it) cell phone, to handheld computerized organizers, key chain memo recorders, portable video game consoles, at least one music reproducing apparatus, carry-along DVD players and a cache of spare batteries to ensure continuous optimum performance. In bygone days the contents would have been three books: an address book, matching calendar book, and a paperback book! Yes, we used to read books printed on paper!

Is it any wonder then, that the dining room table has assumed a new life itself?

All too frequently it is covered with a table cloth (preserving the surface, of course) and more of life’s present-day necessities. OK, even I admit that one end of my dining room table has the laptop on it! So in some households it may be the desktop computer that sits on the table, or at best, on a computer desk where the buffet used to be! Typically a build-it-yourself piece of furniture freed the table to hold the overflow of computer accessories and supplies. You might find piles of CD’s, a variety of printer paper, including several sizes of photo paper, possibly the new printer that is dedicated to family photo printing and a seldom used scanner under the never ending pile of magazines and catalogs of all things electronic!

Correct me if I’m wrong, but somewhere back in the 80’s didn’t I hear a projection that every household would become more organized with the installation of a Home Personal Computer? Did we just not take into consideration the clutter that would accumulate along with this phenomenon?

So, stay with me now, what happened to the dining room?

It conveniently became unavailable for sit down dinners at about the same time that we lost the time to sit down to those dinners. With soccer practice, after school tutoring, piano lessons, school club meetings, social events, etc. many kids are in and out of the house as if they were only visitors and not dwellers. If the parents aren’t working late or entertaining business clients, they’re taking an exercise class, volunteering for a charity or attending any number of community meetings or events.

There doesn’t even seem to be time for asking this question anymore. So that the infrequent opportunity to have a sit down family meal is wrought with all kinds of expectations just adding to the stressful aspects of planning, shopping, preparing and serving! Deciding to take the whole family out is another disastrous fiasco as now you are dealing with everyone’s opinion of where they should be eating on that particular night, because as we all know, what’s not in today will be totally hip-happening tomorrow!

The point I’ve realized is that the service we Personal Chef’s are providing for our clients is the ability to ensure that there are tasty healthy alternatives available in the freezer for them to dine on. Frequently, my family clients want every entrĂ©e packed in individual servings so that they can determine how many will be home for a meal, and defrost only the necessary quantity. Whether it’s consumed individually, in partial groups or by the whole family this convenience is a simple accommodation.

It’s all starting to make sense.

My only consternation came about when I arrived at my bi-weekly clients’ home, the one with the spacious eat-in kitchen, to discover that the paraphernalia over-taking the dining room had now begun to encroach onto the kitchen table. I had assumed this was the place that they currently, occasionally, dined together as a family! And we thought rabbits reproduced rapidly!

Time to put the laptop away (just to the end of the dining room table) and eat dinner! Of course, in my case, according to my accountant, the end of the dining room table constitutes an office making it a tax deduction.

Chef Jim

Summer's Upon Us

Well it seems that we've finally reached the point in this season of no return. The temperatures will stay above the 70 mark through the night and the A/C is keeping the bedroom cool enough to use a blanket!

So too, the menus at home lighten up somewhat. But this week I did roast a boneless leg of lamb that's been around in the freezer. Made a quick reduction of stock and white wine with fresh thyme to drizzle over the slices and we had green and yellow zucchini toasted orzo with parmesan for our side dish! The veggies came from Young's farm in Brookville, Long Island, that we used to visit regularly when in Glen Cove. Also got some greenhouse tomatoes there that were surprisingly good. Not like true August beefsteaks but nicer than anything shipped in! Tomorrow's dinner will be more of the Lamb mixed with sauteed Mushrooms and Red Onion on Pita Bread and fresh Tzatziki, using Greek Yogurt and English Cukes, and maybe some Sundried Tomato and Lemon Zest Couscous! Tonight we had roasted corn, from Florida, with our burgers and salad. Last night was just a huge plate of salad, roasted golden beets, potatoes, green beans, roasted red pepper, hard boiled egg, crispy bacon, slices of left over London Broil, Campari Tomatoes and dressed with Honey Mustard dressing.

Have been scouring through the summer issues of the food mags and have a list longer than summer itself of recipes I want to try! I'm really into adapting lots of the Grilling recipes for my indoor cast iron grill pan this year! We've enjoyed a few nice things on it already, steaks and lamb chops and of course chicken breasts.

Have been thinking it's time for a party, something with a theme, and lots of cool summertime foods. Maybe Greek? Definitly Middle Eastern! Do a variety of salads with Mid-Eastern twist--serve some sliced cold chicken that was roasted with garlic, lemon and oregano--Israeli Couscous and roasted vegetable salad--Cucumber salad--Shrimp marinated in Horseradish Mustard--Octopus salad--strips of rare Tenderloin of Beef with lemon caper dressing, platter of cheeses and garlicky hummus with toasted pitas! Minty Iced Tea, Proseco, and Sangria for refreshment. Desserts, whatever will I make? Baklava? Lemon Ice? Both? More? Stay tuned I'm sure there'll be dessert drama!

I'm off to add to the list of recipes I want to try, Cooking Light just arrived!

Thursday, June 08, 2006

Grandson's Celebrate their Birthdays

Well the 7 year old and the 1 year old came from Rhode Island to celebrate their birthdays. They and their parents passed through NY on their way to Disney World. We celebrated with a Sports Theme party including a Snack Bar Menu!

We had bags of popcorn, peanuts and assorted chips for starters. Then we moved onto the MVP's with Mini Cheeseburgers, Chicken Nuggets, Mini Hot Dogs (actually pigs in blankets) French Fries and cups of Coleslaw. Beverages included Lemonade, Iced Tea, a variety of sodas and for the adults Beer Here!

In keeping with the theme of everything you could get at the stadium's concession stand desserts were Popsicles, Heath Bar Klondike Bars, Mini Ice Cream Sandwiches and Watermelon Cups.

Everyone had a great time and Kris was surprised with a great present from his parents, a PSP to play with on the plane. Connor got some great toys and books and both boys recieved new duds to wear in Florida.