Sunday, October 14, 2012

PAELLA A LA VELENCIANA (Spain): Chicken and Seafood Rice

Tonight a friend of mine from Jersey was asking me about Paella.  Last spring, I cooked some paella dishes and here are the recipe in this blog post.

Chicken and Seafood Rice

Yield:  4 Portions

12 oz.
Pork, lean, diced
4 ea.
Chicken legs, cut into thighs and drumsticks
3 oz.
Olive oil
2 ea.
Garlic cloves, chopped
6 oz.
Onion, small dice
6 oz.
Red pepper, small dice
6 oz.
Green pepper, small dice
3/4 lb.
Rice, short grain
1/2 tsp.
Saffron, crushed
1/4 tsp.
1/2  cup
Chicken stock, hot
2 lb.
Clams, fresh littleneck, cleaned
2 lb.
Mussels, fresh, cleaned
2 lb.
Shrimp, 16/20, P&D
1 lb.
Chorizo link, cooked, sliced
8 oz.
Tomato concasse, small dice
4 oz.
Carrots, small dice
4 oz.
Peas (garden)
4 oz.
Scallions, sliced
2 ea.
1.                  Brown the chicken and pork in the olive oil. Remove and reserve.
2.                  Sauté the garlic, onion, and peppers in the reserved oil.
3.                  Add the rice, saffron and salt. Stir until the rice is coated with oil.
4.                  Add the stock and bring the mixture to a boil. Cover the pan and place it in a 400- degree F.          oven. Cook the rice mixture for 8 minutes.
5.                  Place the clams and mussels on top the rice. Check the rice periodically and add more stock or water if necessary. Replace the cover and return the pan to the oven for 5 minutes.
6.                  Add the shrimp, chorizo, tomato concasse, carrots and peas. Return the pan to the oven and cook paella until the shrimp is cooked through and all the ingredients are very hot.
7.  Garnish the paella with the scallions and strips of roasted red pepper. Drizzle with juice of 1 lemon. Cover the paella pan and allow the paella to rest for 10 minutes. Wedge the remaining lemons and serve with the paella.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

La Mia Casa - Vegan Friendly Menu (final)

La Mia Casa
Vegan Friendly Menu

Friday, October 12, 2012

Executive Chef/General Manager
Harrison Graden Sr.

Sous Chef
Corey Schaefer

Garde Manger
Jason Mather

Kendall Atkins

Kyle Baumann

Brittany Gould

Ware Washer
Cal Bell

Server Captain
Tim Constentino

Noelle Perkowski
Chris Harris
Jon Todd

Chef Instructors
Ellen Piazza
Robert Hertel

STLCC - Forest Park Campus
5600 Oakland
St. Louis MO 63110

Flexitarian, Pescaterian
& Vegan

Diet is not a four lettered word, it is what we eat and not what we do!

Flexitarian as defined by Web MD: A relatively new term, flexitarian comes from a combination of the words “flexible” and “vegetarian.” Following a flexitarian diet means eating more plant-based diet and less meat.

Pescaterian as defined by Urban Dictionary: A person who eats fish but no other kinds of meat. Commonly referred to as "vegetarian".

Vegan as defined by Veganism is a type of vegetarian diet that excludes meat, eggs, dairy products and all other animal-derived ingredients. Many vegans also do not eat foods that are processed using animal products, such as refined white sugar and some wines.  Most vegans also avoid use of all products tested on animals, as well as animal-derived non-food products, such as leather, fur, and wool.

The Antipasto
A traditional Italian meal starts with something to nibble on, called antipasto, which translates into English as “before the meal.” 

“Mock” Caprese Salad (Vegan)
A refreshing salad made with a marinated tofu, fresh Roma Tomatoes, Basil, and drizzled with Olive Oil and Balsamic Reduction and dusted with Sea Salt & Fresh Ground Black Pepper and Parma Parmesan Cheese.

The Primo
In Italy, pasta is a first course, or primo, served as an appetizer, not as the main event.  Soup, rice, and polenta are the options for the primo.

Green Onion & Wild Mushroom Risotto

This dish is packed with the fresh flavor or Green Onion and given a “meaty” texture with the pungent flavor of wild mushrooms to entice your palate

The Secondo
The main course is called il secondo, or the second course. Chicken, meat, or fish are usual choices, and portions are generally small.  These main courses are usually fairly simple, especially if a rich pasta or rice dish precedes them.

Pan Seared Marinated Tofu Picata

Flavorful and fresh this dish is composed of pan seared marinated tofu that is lightly coated with a seasoned flour and garnished with a flavorful and colorful mix of bell peppers, onions, mushrooms, capers and lemons.  With just a drizzle of lemon juice and balsamic reduction and olive oil vinaigrette.


Salmon with Lemon, Capers, and Rosemary

This dish is cooked "al cartoccio" or “en papillote,” which steams the foods in their own flavorful juices and when brought to your table is sure to create a delicate and aromatic dish when opened as a present on a holiday!

The Cortorno
A platter of vegetables usually accompanies the main course. This word contorno loosely translates as “contours” and refers to the fact that the vegetable course helps shape and define the meal.

Roasted Vegetable Medley 
with Balsamic Lemon Vinaigrette
A delightful medley of beets, Brussels sprouts, sweet potatoes, acorn squash, onion and roasted garlic roasted and drizzled with a Balsamic Lemon Vinaigrette.
Cannellini Beans with Garlic and Sage
High in fiber these beans are a great source of protein and other great nutrients.  Creamy and flavorful these are sure to please!

The Dolce
A dolce (or sweet) ends a traditional Italian meal.

Grapefruit Compari Sorbetto

Served with a Fresh Cranberry Orange Sauce and a Cranberry Orange Biscotti dipped in White Chocolate 

This refreshing desert is sure to awaken and tantalize your taste buds with a combination of sweet and sour, cleansing your palate to continue your day!

Sweet Basil Lemonade
Fresh Brewed Iced Tea
(Regular and Decaffeinated)

Served with Lemon Wedges, Natural Sugar, and Stevia

Carrot Cake: Family Recipes

My mother made this a lot around holidays or when out of town relatives were visiting.  It was oh so good!  Particularly with whipped topping...  (she used the baby food and was very very moist!)


1 1/4 cup salad oil         
4 eggs                   
2 cups sugar                  
2 tsp. baking powder         
1/2 tsp. baking soda      
1 tsp. salt   
2 cups flour          
2 tsp. cinnamon
3 cups grated carrots (can use 4 small jars baby carrots or 2 junior jars)
1 cup chopped nuts (optional)

Combine oil and sugar, mix well.  Stir in rest of ingredients alternating dry and wet with 4 eggs.  Bake in 10 inch tube pan.  Bake in a floured and grease bunt pan in a slow oven at 325 degrees for 1 hour 10 minutes.  Cool upright in pan.  When cool cut out of pan to release cake.  You may put icing on cake.  Cream cheese icing is pretty good.  See cookbook section for icings.  Very rich!  Cake is good plain.  It is very moist.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Roast Chicken with Pan Gravy

Roast Chicken with Pan Gravy 

Servings: 10 
Categories: Main Dish 
Source: Culinary Fundamentals Copyright: Prentice Hall

5 each Chickens
Salt, as needed
Black pepper, as needed, freshly ground
5 each Thyme sprigs
5 each Rosemary sprigs
Vegetable oil or butter, as needed

4 ounces Onion, diced
2 ounces Carrot, diced
8 ounces Celery, diced

Pan gravy
2 ounces Flour
1/2 ounce Tomato paste (optional)
1 pint Chicken Stock, hot

1. Remove the wing tips from the chickens and reserves. Season the exterior and the cavity of the chickens with salt and pepper and place one sprig of thyme and rosemary in each cavity. Rub the skin with oil and truss each chicken with twine.

2. Place the chickens, breast side up, on a rack in a roasting pan. Scatter the wing tips in the pan.

3. Roast at 400°F for 40 minutes, basting from time to time. Scatter the mirepoix around the chicken and continue to roast another 30 to 40 minutes or until the thigh meat registers 180°F. Transfer the chickens to a holding pan, cover loosely, and allow them to rest while preparing the pan gravy.

4. Place the roasting pan on the stovetop and cook until the mirepoix on the stovetop and cook until the mirepoix is browned and the fat is clear. Pour off all but 1 once of the fat. Add the flour and cook out the roux for 4 to 5 minutes. (Optional: Add the tomato paste to the roux and cook out 2 minutes more,) Whisk in the stock until completely smooth. Simmer the gravy for 20 to 30 minutes, or until it reaches the proper consistency and flavor. Degrease and adjust seasoning. Strain through a fine mesh sieve and keep warm for service. Cut the chickens into portions and serve with pan gravy. 

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Rough Draft of my Menu for Restaurant Operations

This is Rough Draft of my Menu for Restaurant Operations to be submitted next Friday in class.

Vegan friendly menu

The antipasto:
“Mock” Caprese Salad

The primo:
Green Onion & Wild Mushroom Risotto

The secondo:
Choose one:

Grilled Salmon
Chicken Picata
Pan Seared Marinated Tofu

The contorno:
Sautéed Brussel Sprouts
Oven Roasted Baby Beets & Fennel
Seasoned Cauliflower

The dolce:
 Grapefruit Compari Sorbetto 
with White Chocolate Craisin Biscotti

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Traditional Shepherd's Pie (STLCC-Culinary)

Traditional Shepherd's Pie as cooked at STLCC Culinary Program:


Yield: 6

            15 oz               Lamb stock (or light beef stock)
            1 oz                 Dried wild mushrooms
            1 ½ lb              New red potatoes, cut into medium dice
            4 ea                  Garlic clove, minced
            8 oz                 Sweet butter
            2 oz                 Heavy cream
            1 oz                 Scallion, finely chopped
            1 ½ tblsp         Parsley, chopped
            To taste           Salt and black pepper
            4 oz                 Onion, medium dice
            6 oz                 Button mushrooms, sliced
            1 ½ lb              Ground lamb
            1 oz                 All-purpose flour
            4 oz                 Dry sherry
            1 tsp                Dried thyme
`           15 oz               Corn kernels
  1. Bring the lamb stock to a boil and add the wild mushrooms.  Remove from heat and let rest.
  2. Place the potatoes and garlic in a large saucepan and cover with water.  Bring to a boil.  Cook until the potatoes are tender, remove from the heat, and mash until smooth.
  3. Stir into the mashed potatoes, one third of the butter, heavy cream, green onions, and parsley.  Mix until the ingredients are thoroughly incorporated.  Reserve.
  4. Heat half the remaining butter in a sauté pan over medium-high heat and sauté the onions and button mushrooms for 3-4 minutes until the onions become translucent.
  5. Add the ground lamb and continue to cook until it is browned.
  6. Strain the wild mushrooms from the stock and finely chopped.  Reserve the stock and mushrooms until needed.
  7. Sprinkle the flour over the lamb mixture and stir until incorporated,
  8. Cook while stirring over medium heat for 3 minutes.
  9. Add the sherry and the reserved wild mushrooms and stock.
  10. Continue to cook over medium heat, stirring, until the mixture thickens slightly.
  11. Add the thyme.  Season with salt and pepper.
  12. Melt the remaining butter in another sauté pan over medium heat and add the corn kernels.  Sauté the corn for approximately 5 minutes or until tender.  Season.
  13. Spoon the lamb mixture into a slightly greased baking dish and spread mixture evenly on the bottom of the dish.
  14. Spread the sautéed corn kernels over the lamb.
  15. Spread the potatoes over the corn kernels.  Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 45 minutes or until lightly browned on top.

South of the Border Shepherd's Pie (Mexican Shepherd's Pie)

Gather your ingredients

Rough dice on a mix of peppers

Rough dice jarred Jalapenos
Store brand medium salsa worked

Rough dice Red Onion

Shredded Carrots and Black Beans

I used this but you can make your own

Shredded three Roasted Chickens

Shred Cheddar for the top

Jalapeno rings for garnish

Sprinkle Bacon Crumbles on the top

Ready to bake

Baked and ready to eat!!!


So where I work we usually have left over rotisserie chickens and are looking for ways to use them.  That and this week we had some extra mashed potatoes.  I was thinking of what we could do with them and thought why not make a "Mexican Shepherd's Pie" or South of the Border Shepherd's Pie.  Shepherd's Pie is traditionally made with Mutton (lamb), beef, or sometimes pork... it usually topped with mashed potatoes and sometimes has vegetables mixed into the meat mixture.  It is made from Ireland to Australia and worldwide and is thought to be the origination of a way to use left overs???

So this really works well into what we needed where I work.  We have leftovers and serve mainly comfort foods.  I for one do not like leftovers but have a love for comfort foods that are loaded with tons of flavor.  This dish that I am sharing with you, I think you shall find loaded with flavor and you can add as much or as little heat as you wish!  I also prepared this the day before I cooked it and it can be prepared ahead and frozen if so desired.  It will take additional baking time when frozen, times given in this recipe reflect a refrigerated pie... enjoy...

South of the Border Shepherd's Pie 
(Mexican Shepherd's Pie)


2-3 Roasted Chickens (cooled and de-boned, shredded)
2 cups Red Onion (diced)
1 cup Bell Pepper (Small dice, medley - red. yellow, green)
1 cup Carrot (shredded or small dice)
1/2 cup Black Beans (prepared)
1/2 cup Jarred Jalapenos (diced) 1-2 packets of Taco Seasoning (as hot as you want it)
+/- 1/2 cup Salsa (as hot as you want it!)
10 cups of Mashed Potatoes (prepared)  You can use your favorite mashed potato recipe!


2 cups Cheddar Cheese (shredded)
1 cup Bacon Crumbles
1/4 cup Jarred Jalapeno Rings for garnish (whole)


  1. Shred your chicken and remove all bones, would hate to be choked on a small bone!
  2. Dice and prepare your vegetables.
  3. Mix Chicken and Vegetables, mixing in seasonings and salsa.  You want it to be just wet but not to dry.  If it is too wet, it will not set up after baking.
  4. Cover with a smooth layer of Mashed Potatoes about and 1" thick.
  5. Apply toppings in this order - Cheese, Bacon, Jalapeno Rings
  6. Bake in 350 degree F oven for 12-15 Minutes, loosely covered.
  7. Take out of oven and remove cover, return to oven for another 10 minutes, checking after 5 minutes to ensure the cheese has not burned.
  8. Remove from oven when cheese is melted to desired done-ness.
  9. Tent to hold heat and let it rest for 20-30 minutes to set up.
  10. Serve in squares and enjoy!!!

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Compound Butter

 Started with about 1 stick of softened butter (unsalted), half a small shallot (minced), small handful of Sun-dried Tomato (minced), about the same amount of bacon ♥ slices> (minced), 2 TB Blue Cheese, 14 stalks of parsley (de-stemmed & minced), 4 stalks of Green Onion (sliced thins or minced) and salt/pepper to taste.

Compound Butter
(French: "Beurre composé")

Compound Butter's bring additional flavor and moisture (causing a pleasant, mouth feel and taste), they can be made fairly simple using butter and what ever flavors you wish.  Simplist of Compound Butters can be as simple as Butter, Garlic, Parsley, and Salt/Pepper to taste, this goes well when eating a lot of Italian type dishes and when making Garlic Bread!

Most people use Compound Butters on meats or to season vegetables, when using add at the time just before you take them off the heat source or when you are plating them up and they should always be room temp so that they melt.  (Do not want a cold piece of butter on your beautiful food! Unless you are serving something cold?)  The potential for different flavor combinations and concoctions is limitless, what are you serving?  Steak, Fish, Lamb, Pork, Asparagus, Green Beans (haricots verts), Baked Potato???

What will you use?  Butter (unsalted), Parsley, Garlic, Shallots, Onions, Ginger, Tomatoes, Wine, Cilantro, Basil... I think you get the picture!!!

This Compound Butter was just something I threw together in anticipation of a nicely grilled Rib Eye Steak!  It about tripled in size to a regular stick of butter.

 If you are not already following my blog, either on Google or Networked Blogs, please do!

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Steps to make a grilled pizza with the recipe for THIN CRUSTED PIZZA W CHICKEN, KALAMATA OLIVES AND FONTINA CHEESE

Steps to make a grilled pizza with the recipe for THIN CRUSTED PIZZA W 


by Skip Graden on Wednesday ·

This is a pizza that I made in American Regional Cooking with Chef David Rell last semester.  We grill marked and par-cooked the crust and finished them in a 450 degree BKI Oven

You can top a pizza a lot of ways:  Follow this recipe, Sausage, Peperoni, Cheese, Pepperoni & Sausage, Vegetables,  Pesto Red Onion Shrimp & Baby Bella's, etc...



Yield:  4 8-inch Pizzas

For the Dough: (Best to make the day before.)


ea          Envelope active dry yeast
1/2 tsp      Sugar
2/3 cup      Warm water
2 to 3 cup  All-purpose flour
1 tsp          Kosher salt or Sea Salt
1 tsp          Freshly ground pepper
2 tblsp       Olive oil, plus olive oil for brushing crust

For the Topping:


3 cups   Thinly sliced grilled chicken meat
3/4 cup  Sliced, pitted kalamata olives
4 cups    Shredded fontina cheese
1 cup      Thinly sliced red onion
2 tblsp    Finely chopped fresh parsley


  1. For dough: In a medium bowl, combine yeast, sugar, and water. Stir briefly and let stand until foamy, 5-10 minutes. Add 2 cups flour, the salt, pepper, and 2 tblsp olive oil. Stir together with your fingers, until the dough holds together. Transfer the dough to a lightly floured work surface and knead until smooth, 8 to 10 minutes. Shape into a ball and place in a lightly oiled bowl. Turn the ball to cover the surface with oil. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and set in warm place until the dough doubles in size, 1 to 1 1/2 hours.
  2. Punch down the dough in the bowl. Transfer it to a lightly floured work surface and cut into 4 equal pieces. Roll out each piece into an 8-inch round about an 1/8 inch thick. Lightly brush both sides of each round with olive oil and place rounds on baking sheet.
  3. Gently slide crust from baking sheet and cook, uncovered, directly over medium heat until grill marks are clearly visible, about 2 minutes. Don't worry if the crust bubbles; they will deflate when you turn them over. Transfer the crust to the baking sheets, with grilled marks facing up.
  4. Distribute the chicken, olives, cheese, onion, and parsley evenly among the crusts. Transfer the pizza again from the baking sheet to the grill and cook, covered, directly over medium heat until the crusts are crisp and the cheese is melted, 3 to 4 minutes.


Steps to follow:
Make the Pizza Dough 24 hours before you are going to par cook them.
Once it is par cooked, you can use right away or refrigerated/freeze them wrapped tightly in Saran Wrap or vaccuum packed 3-5 days  refrigerated and 2-3 weeks frozen...

Top of Crust

Bottom of Crust

Top Of Crust, Time to Sauce it...

Add and spread a thin layer of sauce or Sun-Dried Tomato Pesto

Add Pepperoni, start with Thin Flat items

Then add Pre-cooked Sausage

Next is cheese

Evenly spread cheese across top

Looks like enough, time to cook it...
(Can be wrapped in Saran Wrap at this point...
Frozen or Refrigerated)

Put it on the grill...
Cover it with a large lid or a stainless steel bowl with a handle.

Checking it and getting ready to turn it...

Turn it every 3-5 minutes a 1/4 to a 1/3 of a turn...

Turn it every 3-5 minutes a 1/4 to a 1/3 of a turn...

Bottom looks about done....
Remove from the grill...

Put on a surface to cut...
Get into position to cut in smooth continuous strokes

Cut in 6-8 pieces...

Cheese is nice and melty...

Check it out...
Bottom looks great...

Enjoy with a beverage of your choice!

Menu board at Schnuck's on Clayton Road in St Louis MO....
Menu board at Schnuck's on Clayton Road in St Louis MO....