Category Archives: guilty pleasures

Welcome!  Below are a few photos of some new small plate ideas I’ve been working on including: chili crusted tuna tataki, bobwhite quail w blue corn arepas, vanilla spiked foie w barrel aged burbon and 24 hr sous-vide short rib w syrah redux. Ultimately, the goal here will be to post easy recipes of dishes like these along with plating notes, a step by step photographic guide and wine pairing suggestions. I would love to hear any requests for specific dishes from our readers and of course, #wine pairing suggestions are always welcome. Hope you enjoy!

foie gras, lady apple, tahitian vanilla, barrel aged bourbon maple syrup

foie gras, lady apple, tahitian vanilla, barrel aged bourbon maple syrup

Tuna Tataki, Fennel Slaw, Florida Navel, Chili Syrup

Tuna Tataki, Fennel Slaw, Florida Navel, Chili Syrup

Bobwhite Florida Quail, Blue Corn Cakes, Roast Plum, Guajillo Plum Sauce

Bobwhite Florida Quail, Blue Corn Cakes, Roast Plum, Guajillo Plum Sauce

Bobwhite Florida Quail, Blue Corn Cakes, Roast Plum, Guajillo Plum Sauce

Bobwhite Florida Quail, Blue Corn Cakes, Roast Plum, Guajillo Plum Sauce

Salted Caramel-Pretzel Brownie, vanilla bean gelato, chocolate dipped "cocoa puffs"

Salted Caramel-Pretzel Brownie, vanilla bean gelato, chocolate dipped “cocoa puffs”

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Recipe: Wild Mushroom Bisque

A spectacular winter dish, this simple wild mushroom bisque is rich yet elegant.

Slow roasting intensifies the flavor of mushrooms, giving this soup a rich, earthy flavor. Madeira is a sweet wine made in Portugal. Sherry makes an excellent substitute.

Wild Mushroom Bisque

wild mushroom bisque. sourdough croutons, applewood smoked bacon

Ingredients:  (serves 6-8)

  • 1 pound fresh portabellos- stemmed, dark gills removed, caps cut into 3/4-inch pieces
  • 1 pound fresh shiitake mushrooms stemmed, caps cut into 1/2 to 3/4-inch pieces
  • 6 TBS extra virgin olive oil
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 5 1/2 cups chicken or vegetable broth
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 medium yellow onion, medium dice
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons Madeira or Sherry wine
  • 3 tablespoons unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup whole organic milk
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
  • 1/4 cup organic whipping cream
  • 1/4 sourdough croutons, crushed
  • garnish option: chopped cooked bacon

To prepare:

1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper. Divide the mushrooms between prepared baking sheets. Drizzle the mushrooms with the olive oil. Season liberally with salt and pepper, and toss to coat. Cover with aluminum foil. Roast for 30 minutes. Uncover and continue baking until the mushrooms are tender and still moist, about 15 minutes longer. Cool slightly. Reserve any liquid from the roasted mushrooms

2. In a food processor or blender, combine half of the mushrooms with 2 cups of the broth and process until smooth.

3. In a large pot over medium-high heat, melt the butter. Add the onion and garlic and cook, stirring often, until the onion is translucent, about 5-7 minutes. Add the sherry wine and simmer until almost all the liquid evaporates, about 2 minutes. Add the flour and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes.

4. Add the remaining 3 1/4 cups of broth, organic milk, and fresh thyme. Stir in the remaining cooked mushroom pieces and the mushroom purée. Simmer over medium heat until slightly thickened, about 10 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper, and ladle into serving bowls or demi-tasse coffee cups. Top with a little dollop of the whipped cream, sourdough croutons and some porcini powder (or any dried mushroom ground in a spice mill or coffee grinder) and the bacon.

Additional Notes:
• Almost all mushroom varieties are very absorbent and will soak up any moisture that’s available. Moisture causes mushrooms to decay rapidly, so the single most important aspect when cleaning them is not to soak them in water.

• Before you clean mushrooms, trim off the ends of the stems and any clumps of dirt that may be clinging. A soft-bristled brush or damp cloth can usually clean most of the dirt off of mushrooms. If the mushrooms are a little damp, use a clean cloth to dry them.

• Don’t discard the stems of fresh mushrooms like shiitake and Portobello. Use them to flavor stocks, soups, and stews. Wrap them in a square of cheesecloth and add them to a simmering liquid. The stems will release their flavor in about 20 to 30 minutes, then discard the cheesecloth bundle.

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Recipe: Key Lime Tartlets

Recipe: Key Lime Tartlets.

Key Lime Tartlets

Recipe: Mardi Gras King Cake

King Cakes are a vital part of history of the New Orleans Mardi Gras tradition. The King Cake is baked with a small plastic baby hidden inside, the person who gets the slice with baby in it has to host the next party. Make sure to buy a new small plastic baby so you can get the full effect from this cake! Sprinkle with purple, green and gold sugar, or decorate with whole pecans and candied cherries.
Note: Be sure to tell everyone to inspect their piece of cake before they begin eating it. To be extra careful, use a plastic toy baby that is too large to swallow, or hide an orange wedge or 3-4 pecan halves inside the cake (avoid items that may hurt someone’s teeth) and then simply place the honorable toy baby outside on the top of the cake for all to see and adore!

Mardi gras king cake

Ingredients

1 cup milk
1/4 cup butter
2 packages active dry yeast
2/3 cup warm water
1/2 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1 cup brown sugar, packed
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
2/3 cup pecans, chopped
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup raisins
1/2 cup melted butter
FROSTING:
1 cup confectioners sugar
1 tablespoon to 2 water
MISC:
2 smalls plastic dolls (from party supply store)
green sugar
yellow sugar>
purple sugar

Preparation

1. Scald the milk, then remove from heat and stir in the butter. cool the mixture until it reaches room temperature.
2. In a large bowl, dissolve the yeast in the warm water with 1 tablespoon of the white sugar. Let stand until creamy, approximately 10 minutes.
3. When the yeast mixture is bubbling, add the cooled milk mixture. Whisk in the eggs. Stir in the remaining white sugar, salt, and nutmeg. Beat the flour in, adding 1 cup at a time.
4. Once the dough has formed, put it on a lightly floured surface and kneed until smooth and elastic, approximately 8 to 10 minutes.
5. Lightly oil a large bowl. Put the dough in the bowl and turn it to coat the dough with oil. Cover the dough with a damp cloth or plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place until doubled in volume, approximately 2 hours. Once the dough has risen, punch it down and divide it in half.
6. Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Grease 2 cookie sheets, or line them with parchment paper.
7. Make the filling: combine brown sugar, ground cinnamon, chopped pecans, 1/2 cup flour, and 1/2 cup raisins. Pour the 1/2 cup of melted butter over the mixture and mix until crumbly.
8. Roll out the dough halves into large rectangles (approximately 10 x 6 inches). Sprinkle the filling over the dough and roll the dough up like a jelly roll, beginning at the wide side. Bring the ends of each roll together to form two oval shaped rings. Put each dough ring on a prepared cookie sheet. Use scissors to make cuts 1/3 of the way through the rings at 1 inch intervals. Let rise in a warm place until doubled in size, approximately 45 minutes.
9. Bake the rings in the preheated oven for 30 minutes. Remove cakes from oven and press a plastic baby doll into the bottom of each cake.
10. Mix the confectioners sugar with 1 to 2 tablespoons of water and frost the cakes while warm. Decorate with green, yellow, and purple colored sugars.
ENJOY!

Photo Gallery: Safety Harbor Food Truck Rally

So wow! I had the opportunity to attend the 1st annual Safety Harbor Food Truck Rally today and it was fantastic! Among some of the delicious foods I tried were: 3 Suns Organic Bistro, Sweet Ida Mae’s Bakery, Stinky Bunz, Just Smokin’ BBQ, Keep’n It Reel, Fire Monkey Food Truck, Tasty Stacy Food Truck, This ‘n’ That Mini Doughnuts, Mr. Empanada, Whatever Pops and The pizza Guy.

Okay, so yeah, I ate everything in sight and loved it! All the food was totally delicious and the service was quick and friendly. Add to that the beautiful weather, good live music and a whole bunch of great friends and it made for a pretty awesome day!

Thanks to all the great vendors who came out to feed us today and also to the city of Safety Harbor for putting on this great event…lots of happy faces out on Main Street today, can’t wait for the next one! Enjoy the gallery!

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Justin-Thyme Food Photography 2011

A collection of some of our favorite and/or signature dishes from the past year. Justin-Thyme Personal Chef Service Provides Elegant Full-Service Dinner Parties to the to the Tampa Bay Area.

Justin-Thyme Personal Chef Service Provides Elegant Full-Service Dinner Parties to the to the Tampa Bay Area!

Do you love fine food and wine but dread a long night out at a fine dining restaurant? In today’s dining scene, people are taking advantage of another option! If you were to compare a personal chef service to restaurant, you could think of it this way: For a restaurant, you must drive to get there, possibly wait for a table, take a chance that your server is having a good day, and if you have allergies or special requests you don’t always have the guarantee that they will be honored, since most entrees are “assembly line” ready in the kitchen.

After eating your meal you must pay for it, tip the server, and get back in your vehicle to drive home. If you have a Personal Chef Service, you can eat a wonderful entrée that has been prepared specifically for you palate and requirements, and eat it in the comfort of your own home.

How it works:
Chef Justin will help create a delicious gourmet menu suited to your particular tastes for any special dining event in your home. He consults with you about what kind of party you’d like to give, how many guests you plan to invite and any other special detail to make your party perfect. He will then design your special custom menu of four or five courses suited to your particular tastes as well as help you pair up the best wines with the cuisine. We are also happy to make changes to the menu to accommodate a guest’s special requests or restrictions. Once menus are finalized, we print up custom copies detailing your event for your guests to keep.

You’ll enjoy a fantastic meal and our high-end four-star service, and then, while you’re savoring dessert, we’ll scrub your kitchen spotless as you bask in your guests’ praise at what a clever host you are for bringing in a private chef to create such a delicious and memorable experience.

We service the following areas:  Tampa, Clearwater, Dunedin, Indian Rocks Beach, Largo, Madeira Beach, Mango, Oldsmar, Safety Harbor, South Tampa, St. Petersberg, St. Pete Beach, Tarpon Springs, Tierra Verde, Orlando Fl

Justin-Thyme Personal Chef Service Tampa‘s Premier Personal Chef!

Do Not Eat This Blog!

So, I’ve got an old friend who is a HUGE Rush fan. He’s seen them live more times than he’s visited his in-laws, owns every bootleg known to man, and can recite each member’s biography with the nostalgia of having lived it himself. But one summer night, after a couple of Grey Goose martinis had begun to take hold, he made a startling confession to me about a musical guilty pleasure…Barry Manilow. Yeah, it’s ok, laugh…lord knows I did. But despite the fact that I can still remember how silly he looked singing a horrible rendition of  ‘Could It Be Magic’, it only made me respect him even more because, we are after all,  all human, and we ALL have guilty pleasures…not just in music, but in food and wine too.

See, here’s the thing- I absolutely love  Foie Gras, Beluga Caviar, Kobe beef, Truffles, first-growth Bordeaux and San Pellegrino. But I also love (and I can admit this because most of you have never actually met me) white castle burgers, E-Z cheeze, Beefaroni, frozen pizza, Mac & Cheese with cut up hot dogs, Ketchup on eggs, fried Snickers, Slurpees, Cajun boiled peanuts and those little wax bottles with the liquid candy inside.

I’ve been fortunate to have dined at some of the finest restaurants in the world and have had meals that are indelibly etched in my memory, but it doesn’t change the fact that every once in a while (when no one is around except me and the dog) I will sit down to a peanut butter & fluff (yep, a fluffernutter)sandwich on WHITE bread, not the healthy stuff. The dog gets a little peanut butter too just in case she’s thinking of ratting me out. And if you’ve never had the pleasure of treating yourself to a Drake’s Yodel or Ring Ding, do me a favor- put down the Riedel stemware and the truffle butter, step away slowly, get in the car and drive to the market as fast as you can, without stopping for pedestrians.

So I asked around, and when promised anonymity, several friends, family and co-workers have admitted to the following gastronomical guilty pleasures:

  • Uncooked Ramen Noodles, right out of the container, crunch and all
  • McDonald’s Chicken Nuggets…what, that’s not bad enough for you? Did I mention she dunks them in her chocolate milk shake?!?
  • Spaghetti with ketchup (a distant cousin of my beloved Beefaroni)
  • Skillet-fried Spam with pineapple
  • Frozen Pop-Tarts
  • Fried bologna sandwiches on wonder bread, sans crust
  • Pork cracklins’

So my question is, what’s YOUR guilty pleasure? Don’t sit there with your nose up in the air and tell me you live on haute cuisine, because I know somewhere deep down, in places you don’t talk about at cocktail parties, you WANT that New York City ‘dirty-water’ hot dog, you NEED that cold left-over pizza. It’s okay, the first step is admitting it, so share your guiltiest pleasure I won’t tell a soul…

Justin-thyme.com

peanut fluffernutter pancake sandwich

peanut fluffernutter pancake sandwich