Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Hey, Lovie!!!

Dear Mr. Smith:

It is now no secret that the Philadelphia Eagles are doing questionable things and have released Jeff Garcia. Jeff says it isn't about the money, so your cheap ass owners might be interested. Just a thought. Oh, and as I've mentioned before, it looks like a former player of yours might be available, too: Kurt Warner. I know they are both getting old by NFL standards, but either is a better situation than you have now. Al Davis is going to be looking too since two of his 3 QB's aren't coming back, so don't lallygag.

Sincerely,

A fan of yours when you were a Ram.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Newly Announced Upcoming Gig

Just finished the details for an upcoming catering gig. This is quite exciting.

Erin Ivey is returning to Peoria!

From alternative pop to sultry bossa, many songs on Erin Ivey's new debut album were written and first recorded in Peoria. Erin Ivey has been featured as the voice of Apple Computer, her music has been used in Red Bull Energy Drink promotions and she has worked with independent music producers nationwide. Her song "Chocolate" was recorded for an upcoming movie soundtrack. In March 2005, she was one of ten musicians sponsored to attend the Red Bull Music Lab in Dallas. Her first selfproduced track went on to become the Top Download at Austin Online Music. Most recently, she was selected from a catalogue of nearly 400 artists to become the first Artist-in-Residence at Rumblefish in Portland, Oregon.

To help Erin celebrate the release of this album, join us for a soiree at the home of Converse Marketing on the crest of Main Street in downtown Peoria, Saturday March 10 from 8:00 - 10:00 p.m.

Enjoy an evening of music and storytelling featuring Erin Ivey and the Joe Metzka Jazz Trio. Confectious appetizers will be prepared by the revered Chef Kevin and a cash bar will be flowing manned by the one and only Todd Hohulin of 2Chez.

Tickets are $10.00 a person and may be purchased only at Erin Ivey Tickets. Limited tickets are available and must be purchased by Wednesday March 7.

Any questions, contact Erin at #309-472-6785/e.borcherding@gmail.com

See you around the table....

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

ChefKevin.com?

I've been thinking of putting up a more professional website to"webvertise" my extracurricular culinary activities for hire. However, chefkevin.com is taken. So is chefkevin.net. And so are Chefkev.com & .net. Anybody know some Mafia hitmen? Just kidding. So, anyway, where to go from here. If people didn't quite know the address, what would they try?

I know chefkevin.biz & .org are both available. I thought about adding my last name, but I don't think I want to do that...makes things too easy for bill collectors and the internet insane :) and I don't know if most people would know it anyway.

So my thoughts are (and are all available according to goddaddy.com):

ChefKevinPeoria.com
chefkevincooks.com
bloggerchefkevin.com
chefkevincaters.com
cookingwithChefKevin.com
seeyouaroundthetable.com (even though it has NO link to me whatsoever, it is my personal favorite and I think I should TM this before Emeril, Rachael or Martha steal it)

Any thoughts from the internet-minded?

Ok, you can keep your chefkevinisanasshole.com, chefkevinisashithead.com and chefkevincouldntcookhiswayoutofawetpaperbag.com comments to yourself :)

Snow Tornado

With the blowing winds today, I saw something pretty interesting: a snow tornado. Of course, it wasn't an F5 ripping across my yard...not even an F 1/4. I'm sure meterologists have a proper name for it. But for several seconds this afternoon caught (and probably formed) between the house, garage and the neighbors garage, a whirling updrafting snow "funnel cloud". I noticed this from second story "south wing" of my East Bluff mansion so it wasn't some ground level snow shuffle. I was so taken, thinking "WOW, that's pretty frikkin cool, I should get a picture" and even though the digital camera was right here, no chance...it was "tearing" across the East Bluff down toward the river, dissipating along the way.....

Now if it would come back and clear my driveway.....

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Where Does It End?

I've been reading where now the Yahoos in NY are wanting to put nutrition labels on menus. I can only say one thing: You've gotta be (bleep'n) kidding me!!!!

I was going to write a whole tirade about this (and who knows, I still might) but if you are that concerned or that anal about what you eat, you need to stay home and cook for yourself.

No, on second thought, I am going on a tirade because of something I just ate caused another thought to pop into my head. Lets say I go to my local coffee shop and decide to have a banana for breakfast. On the side of it is slapped a sticker, you know; the little white nutritional information box: "109 Calories; 1g Fat (4.2% calories from fat); 1g Protein; 28g Carbohydrate; 3g Dietary Fiber; 0mg Cholesterol; 1mg Sodium. Exchanges: 2 Fruit". Now is that for THIS banana? Or is it for any ol' average banana? Is this an average banana for the bananas sold here? Is it an average banana for all bananas sold? How do I know THIS banana has 109 calories? I'm on a diet, do you have one with just 100 calories? How about that apple?

So when your order is placed in the kitchen: Is the butter perfectly clarified so that there are no calories lingering from any of the milk solids? Is exactly 1/4 teaspoon of salt and 1/8 teaspoon of white pepper sprinkled on your perfect weight of 6 ounces chicken breast? Is exactly 1 ounce of clarified butter put in the pan? Are exactly 1/2 ounce of minced shallots and 2 ounces of sliced mushrooms going in? Is exactly 2 oz. each of white wine (which white wine?) 2 ounces of chicken stock and 2 ounces of 36% heavy cream going into the pan. Is it reduced EXACTLY in half? If all this has to be EXACT you will be waiting two hours for your meal and it will cost you $50.00 (Many someones are going to have to be paid to weigh all this stuff out).

Most likely, what comes out on your plate isn't going to be what is on the menu. Then the question is what if the menu states that these are approximate nutritional values. Well, that is kinda stupid, pointless and useless so why bother? And then, undoubtedly, you also know there is some jerk out there who will take a meal, have it analyzed, find it not to be posted on the menu, claim he got IBS or some terrible disease from worrying about it, sue for millions and win.

What about the daily specials? What if you change your menu weekly, or daily as places like Charlie Trotter? Do you hire a dietician for $60K a year? Have one on call everyday? I have the latest version of Mastercook. It can do this, but what if it doesn't have the nutritional assessment for 2 ounces of cooked chorizo sausage? or the value of 4 ounces of milk reduced to two? Or some exotic ingredient that isn't listed? Remember the scene from "Demolition Man" where Sandra Bullock says to Stallone that all restaurants are now Taco Bell as they won the food wars? Well, no truer words spoken. A little guy who changes his menu frequently has to pay a dietician $60K a year to keep up with his frequent menu changes. Chili's does the same. Who do you think gets the bad end of the stick here? The little guy. Bye Bye independents, Hello, Chili's!!!

Every employee will have to memorize "On Food & Cooking", "Larousse Gastronomique", "The Cook's Advisor" and "Food Values of Portions Commonly Used" to be able to answer diners questions. Customer: "I noticed there is 1 gram of trans fat in this dish. Can you have the chef remove it?" Waitperson: "We only use oils with no tranfats as deemed necessary by some government yahoo in the Great Transfat Ban of 2008. Thusly, the transfat must be in the fish. Which part of your fish would you like the chef to remove?" Are you really, as a consumer, going to say "Oh, that has 9 grams of fat and this has 7 grams of cholesterol, and Oh, Sh*t, look at the potassium levels in this banana...I better order the fish!"? Please.

(This one is for Knight) You can smoke your head off at a restaurant but you are so concerned about what you are eating you need nutritional information on the menu? BWAH HA HA HA!! What percent of North Americans are overweight? Do you think the majority of people actually care?


The rate this is going, here is the next scenario:

Barkeep: "Hello, ma'am, what can I get for you?"
Woman: "I'll have a cosmopolitan."
Barkeep: "One moment please. Ok, here is the nutritional information for that drink, would you still care for it?"
Woman: "What are you? Some kind of smartass? Where is your manager?"
Manager: Yes, ma'am, is there a problem?
Woman: "This young man presented me with the nutritional information for the cosmopolitan I ordered. I think he is insinuating I'm fat!"
Manager: "No, ma'am, it is the new nutritional drink law of 2010 that requires us to provide you with the nutritional information concerning the drink you ordered if it is not pre-printed on, for example, a beer bottle or face heavy fines if we do not. The government deems it necessary for you to have this information so you can make sound nutritional choices for yourself."
Woman: "Well that is the stupidest thing I've ever heard."
Manager: "yes, ma'am, stupid. Would you still care for the cosmopolitan?"
Woman: "no, after that I just want a shot of tequila."
Manager: "Which tequila, ma'am, so I know which nutritional label to provide you?"
Woman: *eyeroll*
Manager: Lime with that?
Woman: "Does it come with a nutritional label too?
Manager: "Yes, ma'm"
Barkeep: "I quit".
Woman: "I'll have water."
Manager: "would that be bottled water.........?"

I'm sitting 'round my table waiting for my a bacon cheeseburger and some twisty fries with no nutritional label on it.....

Monday, February 05, 2007

Where I'm Cooking In February

It is going to be a BUSY month in Chef Kevin's World......


Tuesday, February 13
at The Bronze Frog 6:00 - 9:00 PM
Mardi Gras: The Foods of New Orleans
Grab some beads and a rumrunner and head over to the Bronze Frog to get some great recipes (and great food) just in time for Mardi Gras so you can host your own party! Jambalaya (made with shrimp, chicken and Andouille sausage), Crawfish Etouffee, Shrimp Bienville, Sweet Potato & Crab Croquettes and Southern Comfort Pecan Pie. Call 692-4707 to sign up.


Sunday, February 18
at Panache 9:30 AM- 1:00 PM
Brunch At Panache

French Rolled Omelets with herb seasoned oven roasted new potatoes. Omelet fillings choices will be:
Beef Ropa Vieja (Beef braised in Brazilian spiced tomato sauce and jack cheese. Topped with flame roasted corn salsa)
Chicken Fajitas (Mexican seasoned chicken strips with onions and bell peppers)
Vegetable

Baked Eggs & Seafood Creole Two eggs baked in pastry shells and topped with seafood creole

Farmer’s Breakfast Two scrambled eggs, 5 oz. boneless pork chop and herb seasoned oven roasted new potatoes


Thursday, February 22
at From the Field 6:00 - 9:00 PM
Shrimp Class
(This is a Demonstration class)
Almost everyone’s favorite crustacean!! There are so many way to cook these gems from the sea and we are going to feast on some tonight. “Smokin’” Shrimp Cocktail with Bloody Mary Cocktail Sauce, Shrimp Scampi with Scallions and Tomatoes, Tybee Island Fried Shrimp, Sweet & Sour Stir Fried Shrimp with Snow Peas & Cashews, and Shrimp Duvernois. Call 263-6020 or sign up online at Http://www.fromthefieldcookingschool.com


Tuesday, February 27
at The Bronze Frog 6:00 - 9:00 PM
Side Dishes
Just tired of the same side dishes? Plain ol’ potatoes, pasta and rice got you wanting something more? From a fancy dinner party to an outdoor cookout, Chef Kevin has got you covered with six different side dishes that will surely be able to accompany any meal. Penne Alfredo, Roasted Vegetable Ratatouille, Drunken Baked Beans, Green Bean & New Potato Salad with Bacon Vinaigrette, Cheddar Cheese Risotto & CousCous & Vegetable Salad. Call 692-4707 to sign up.


Wednesday, March 7
at From the Field 6:30 - 8:30 PM
SUSHI!! (This is a demonstration, then HANDS ON class)
Sushi doesn't mean raw fish. Loosely translated it means vinegared rice..you can put grilled sirloin steak and portabello mushrooms in a sushi roll if you feel like it. Several different methods of rolling sushi with be explored in this class. Nigiri-zushi, Maki-zushi,Hosomaki-zushi, Inside out roll, Temaki-zushi and Gunkan-zushi. Call 263-6020 or sign up online at Http://www.fromthefieldcookingschool.com

Sunday, February 04, 2007

Dinner At Willett's Winery

Dan & Cris Willett of Willett's Winery & Cellar and yours truly got together our collective resources and did a wine dinner at their winery in Manito.

As they have no kitchen, I borrowed a facility to cook most of the food and hauled it to Manito...not an easy feat when the temp outside is hanging around zero with some nasty wind chill.

We had a great response and there were many people who got turned away as we set the max at 40. We set a tentative "second date" if this was pulled off successfully.

Without going into detail or straining lat muscles patting ourselves on the back, we would like to think it was a success. Thusly, April 14th will be the repeat event. The menu will be the same, which is:

Smokin’ Shrimp Scampi with Rigatoni .. Willett’s Chardonel

Three White Cheese Soup with Bacon & Apple .. Willett’s Vidal Blanc

Roasted Strip Loin of Certified Angus Beef “Star of Texas” with Port Demi Glace, Oven Roasted New Potatoes, Vegetable Melange .. Willett’s Chambourcin

Grand Marnier Chevrè Cheesecake with Dried Apricot Sauce .. Willett’s Vignoles

The event is $40.00 per person. For further information or reservations, please contact Willett’s Winery & Cellar at (309) 968 7070 or at will2000@grics.net

I also have to give a shout out to two people who made this event happen more easily from my end: Bill Turney at From The Field Cooking School for letting me use his facility to prepare all the food and Mike Citchen of The Smo-King Pit Restaurant for loaning me the warming equipment to get the food there hot.

Now, to unload the truck and put everything away (Oh, the GLAMOROUS part of being a chef...... :) )

See you around the table...