I Need To Change My Path

As I am writing this I am sitting in a hospital waiting area where my dad is being treated for problems associated with diabetes. It is slowly killing him. This strong I can do anything man I knew as dad has turned into a shell of who he once was. He has to have help getting up out of his chair to use the toilet. His body not doing what he wants it to. The loss of feeling and strength in his hand and feet. A mild stroke taking his balance and some of his sharp mind. It is heart breaking.

Sometimes the lowest times in your life can be life changing. I don’t want my children and grandchildren to go through what my brothers and I are now. I am making a vow to my kids to change and not become my dad. Not that he was a bad father but because he should have taken better care of himself.

Our society is addicted to processed foods with little real nutritional value. I am one of those addicts. While I know how to cook. Some would say(my family) that I am a really good cook. I know what real food is and what real fresh food should taste like. After working all day I t is so easy to grab burger in the drive through or order take-out.

My good friends chef Perry, chef Terry and I have been working together at Hautemealz.com and our SimplySmartDinnerPlans on helping people get back to cooking for ourselves. I now need to take my own advice and quit using the excuse of I’m to busy or to tired. My life and the life of my family depend on it.

I want to be around to see my great grandchildren and that means I need to get more in control of my health. I know that it won’t be an overnight change as habits are harder to break than they are to form. I am determined to make changes that will benefit me and my children. I need to lead by example. My example up to now has been how not to live just like my dad was to me(as far as health was concerned). I will be better! I will change for my kids!

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , | 2 Comments

Breakside Brewery

Had the opportunity to stop in at the Breakside Brewery and tasting room. It was around 4:00 in the afternoon while waiting to pick my wife up from work. It was a busy place that day.

The taproom had a nice sized bar and whiskey barrels for tables. The brewery was active. You could see and here the work going on in the back.

I had a couple of nice IPA’s. The first was their Ales for ALS Double IPA. A very nice hoppy IPA. It was just what I was looking for in a beer that afternoon. The second was Aquavit Barrel Aged IPA. I enjoy this beer. It was quite a different take on an IPA than I am accustom to. Lots of citrus but not at all bitter. Both beers hit the spot on a warm afternoon.

IMG_0023.JPG

IMG_0025.JPG

My only complaint is parking is limited that time of day. It is situated in an industrial area with lots of other businesses. I had to park a little farther away than I would have like but it was worth it.

This is a place I will return to. They have many more beers to try.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

“Made a difference to that one”

My good friends Perry, Terry and I recently had the opportunity to teach some cooking classes at a summer camp run by Sparks of Hope. We were invited by our friends Lee Ann and Chris Mead the founders of this incredible group of people. Their mission is to empower children who are survivors of physical or sexual abuse to thrive. That is what these camps are all about. The staff and volunteers for Sparks of Hope give their all to these children. I feel privileged for the opportunity to work with them.

cookgoodwritebad.files.wordpress.com/2014/09/img_0020.jpg”>IMG_0020.JPG

One of our missions at Hautemealz.com is helping people learn to cook for themselves. We believe in the “give a man a fish he eats for a day, Teach a man to fish he eats for a life time”. The problem with this is if he doesn’t know how to cook all those fish it is a moot point. This is when we started a program called “My Kitchen“. It is geared towards teaching youth to cook for themselves. So earlier this year we started working with Impact NW’s independent living program teaching nutrition, shopping and basic cooking to youth coming out of the foster care system. Teaching these kids that dinner doesn’t have to come out of the drive-thru, a box or a can. As they progressed through the classes their confidence and their willingness to try new things grew.

IMG_0019-0.JPG

IMG_0017-0.JPG

Now fast forward a few months to the Sparks of Hope camps. Watching a child over the course of a few days go from “I can’t do it”, to “look at what I can do”.

IMG_0016.JPG

IMG_0021-0.JPG

IMG_0022-0.JPG

Teaching these wonderful little ones how to cook a basic French omelet and a fresh Pomodoro sauce with penne pasta. Watching them flip that first omelet and encourage their class mates as they tried to do the same. Or seeing their confidence grow as they learned to dice tomatoes and make a sauce that is simple fast and way better tasting than what comes out of a can. They wanted everyone who was nearby to taste what they had just created.

Chris, Lee Ann and all of the other volunteers are incredible. They work day and night to make sure these kids have a safe fun place to learn that they are more than victims.

While our part of of the Sparks of Hope camps is just a small part of what these kids learn. I hope we can add a one more thing that these kids can grab ahold of to help them succeed in life.

There is a story about a an old man on the beach throwing starfish back into the ocean one at a time. Some one tells him there are to many and he can’t make a difference. The old man listened calmly and then bent down to pick up another starfish and threw it into the sea. “It made a difference to that one.”

Somedays the work can get to you but if we can make a difference for just one kid it has all been worth it.

IMG_0015.JPG

PS. Everyone has something to give. I cook, that is what I can give. What is something you can give? If everyone gave just a little our world would be a much better place.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

“Chef”

On Monday I had the pleasure of seeing the movie “Chef” with my good friend chef and food blogger extraordinaire Perry Perkins.

We stopped by one of our favorite local breweries(Two Kilts brewing) on the way and had some great beers. They have a great selection of beers on their tap list ranging from a really nice Pilsner to an incredible Bourbon Barrel Aged Russian Imperial Stout. We sampled a few and we were not disappointed. I tried their Belgian Brune, their Imperial IPA and the Bourbon aged Stout. The Stout was the star that out shined the rest. It had a great balance of bourbon and beer flavor.

Now to the movie. Quite often now days I wonder is it worth $10 for the ticket and another $10-$15 for a drink and snack just to see a movie in the theater. There have been some disappointments but this was not one of them.

Jon Favreau wrote and directed a great movie. I laughed throughout the whole movie. The cast is made up of a group of amazing actors. Names like Dustin Hoffman, Scarlett Johansson, John Leguizamo, Oliver Platt and more.

Quitting his job because of a disagreement with the owner of the restaurant and getting bad reviews from a food blogger/critic(Oliver Platt). Carl Casper (Jon Favreau) finds himself traveling across the country with his son Percy (Emjay Anthony) and friend Martin (John Legqizamo) stopping in foodie towns along the way.

I was reminded why I don’t work in someone else’s restaurant. Working as a private chef and meal planner with two of the best cooks I have ever met is a pleasure. Getting to cook what we want when we want. It can be a lot of work but it is not a job that I dread going to every day.

What got to me the most was the growth of the relationship between the father and son and the passing the fathers knowledge and passion for food to his son. This really hit home. The passing of knowledge of how to cook and the reason of  why we cook to the next generation is a large part of why we do what we do.

There is so much I would like to say but I don’t want to give a way to much of the story.

I loved this movie and would spend the $25 per person to see this in the theater again. If you want to see a great feel good movie this summer go see “chef”

Chef Chris

Hautemealz.com

 

  

 

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Sous Vide Steaks A New Frontier

Meat is the reason I have been hoping  for an emersion circulator. The hope of a fork tender rare Flank steak, Tri Tip or brisket. Oh the possibilities!Sous Vide steak 1_Fotor

I started my experiments with a couple of cuts of beef. The petite sirloin and a flank steak. This time of year around here you can go to most stores and they will be pushing the petite sirloin as a great steak for grilling. While it is an okay steak for grilling it can become tough and dry if over cooked. Now when you coat it with oil or bacon renderings and season well with salt, pepper and your favorite herbs etc. Put it in a vacuum seal bag and cook to your desired temperature. It retains almost all of it’s moisture. It doesn’t shrink into a hockey puck. You pull it out and give it a quick browning in a hot frypan on the grill or my favorite (because I get to use my torch)using your kitchen torch. You can have a medium steak that still has moisture, flavor and isn’t like chewing on an old boot.

For my first experiment I kept things very simple. Petite sirloin steak, sea salt, pepper and a little garlic. I then vacuum sealed them with the Food Saver.

The temp is up and timer is set.

The temp is up and timer is set.

I set up my Anova Emersion circulator and brought the water temperature up to 135 degrees F. When the water was up to temp I placed the vacuum sealed steaks in the pot and set the stop watch. I then took the kids out for a round of disk golf.

Let the flame do its job.

Let the flame do its job.

 

 

 

 

 

When I returned it had been about 4 hours. I threw together a quick salad with a simple vinaigrette and pulled the steaks from the hot water. Cutting open the vacuum bags the steaks looked grey and not very appetizing. I placed them on a rack over a sheet pan and Sous Vide Steak 5_Fotorbroke out the torch. Applying the flame directly to the surface of the meat and creating a thin golden brown crust.

Serving the steak with the salad my family was quite pleased. The flavor was great it was tender and I was still able to spend the day with my kids.

Now we move on to the flank steak. The beginning process starts out the same. I am not one to add to many flavors to beef. I believe beef has plenty of flavor on its own. So a pinch each of sea salt, black pepper and maybe some garlic (because it’s not food without garlic). Vacuum sealed and place in the immersion circulator at 135 degrees F. I started these steaks at the same time as the petite sirloins but instead of pulling them at 4 hours I let them cook until the next morning, about 16 hours. I then cooled them in an ice bath and placed them in the refrigerator to save for dinner that evening. In the afternoon I had my teenage son Jonathan bring the immersion circulator back up to 135 degrees and place the steaks back in the hot water about for 45 minutes  to bring them back up to temp before my wife and I got home from work.

The flank steak! So Good!!!

The flank steak! So Good!!!

I have had steaks from some very high end restaurants. While I love a good New York or fillet none of these even compared with the flavor of a good flank steak. Flank and skirt steaks can get tough if over cooked and it can be hard to get that medium rare in the middle without cremating the out side. Using the immersion circulator I can get a perfect 135 degrees F. (Without worrying about over cooking. Because the steak will never get hotter than the water.) from the outside edge all the way to the middle of the steak.

This time I finished the steaks in a smoking hot skillet, browning them well on all sides.  The steak was more tender and flavorful than any steak I have ever had. Tender and juicy with just a thin layer (less than a millimeter) of caramelization on the outside giving it a great flavor. It was incredible. The family was all oohs and awes. Even the mother in law who typically does not eat a lot of meat finished her steak.

I am looking forward to more experiments in the near future. This has been the best new cooking gadget I have played with in a long time.

Chef Chris

Hautemealz.com

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

My New Toy and The Perfect Egg.

Last week I received what might be the best birthday gift ever. My good friends Perry Perkins and Terry Ramsey bought me an emersion circulator from Anova. I have been wanting one for some time now.

At last years IFBC we went to the sous vide class put on by the people at Sansaire. It was a very informative class that really gave me a desire to experiment with sous vide cooking.The Sansaire is the unit that I thought I wanted. Now that I have the Anova I am glad that Perry chose it as my gift.

I have been looking at recipes trying to decide what to cook first. Talking to Perry and several other foodie friends I decided on a perfect soft cooked egg.

 

Water is up to temp and the eggs are added.

Water is up to temp and the eggs are added.

I did a little checking for a recipe and settled on 149 degrees F. for 45 minutes. I placed a large stainless steel pot filled with water on the stove and attached the emersion circulator. Plugged it in and set the temperature. When the water came up to 149 degrees I gently placed the eggs into the pot with a spoon and set the timer for 45 minutes. After the 45 minutes were up I removed the eggs from the pot with the spoon and placed them in an ice bath to cool for just a few seconds(makes them easier to handle). I cracked one of them into a dish with a pinch of salt and black pepper.

Now for that first bight. The white was just set. The yoke had this creamy custard consistency. 

Sous Vide Eggs 4_Fotor   The taste was just perfect. It was everything you would hope for in a poached egg but never get. Creamy rich almost desert like.

While I would like to say that I cooked these eggs for some fancy dish, but I really just wanted to play with my new toy. The next time I think I will reduce the temp to 145 degrees F. and keep the time at 45 minutes. I want to try for a little bit softer yoke. 

I want to thank Anova for a great piece of cooking equipment. It has worked perfectly. I am looking forward to many more experiments with my new emersion circulator and sous vide cooking.

Recipe: serves 6

6 eggs       pinch each salt & black pepper

 

Attach the emersion circulator to your vessel and fill the vessel with water. Plug it in turn on the power and set temp to 149° F. When the water has come up to temp and stabilized. Now gently place the eggs in the water with a spoon. Set the timer to 45 minutes. After the 45 minutes are up remove the eggs with the spoon and place them in an ice bath for a few seconds. Gently crack the egg over a bowl or toast.

 

Enjoy!

Chef Chris

hautemealz.com

 

 

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , | 1 Comment

I Hate Goodbyes.

So I went with my good friend Perry last weekend to say our goodbyes to an old friend. I have known Ed for close to thirty years. Ed has been fighting cancer for a couple of years now and is coming to the end of that fight.

I have mixed emotions as I am a Christian and so is My friend Ed. I believe he is going to a better life. That doesn’t change the fact that I will miss sitting with him while trying to solve the worlds problems eating great BBQ on his back porch or sitting around the campfire on a fishing trip.

Ed has always been that three in the morning friend. You called and he would be there. He never asked for anything in return. He would laugh, cry or just sit and let you talk. Then when the time was right he had words of wisdom that were just what you needed to here.

It was incredible to watch the way Ed and his wife Teri would take someone under their wing and lift them up out of the hole they had dug themselves into. They showed you how to be a Christian by loving people. They gave quite often beyond what they had to give. It is tough having been on the receiving end of that love so many times and not knowing how to pay back all that they deserve.

If you think about it please say a prayer or two for his wife and kids. They are loosing an incredible husband and daddy. They are going to miss him very much.

It amazes me to see how many people his life has touched. How many people that can say my life is better because of Ed. I know mine is. So is my wife’s. My kids have had the privilege of having known him. If I could die knowing I had become half the man he was I would call my life worth living.

The good news is that he will be healed soon and will be walking with our savior on streets of gold. One day I hope to see him there.

Good by my friend. Remember to find some good fishing holes for me.
Love you!

Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments