Friday, March 30, 2007

What The World is Demi-Glaze?

I've been seeing the term demi-glaze in reference to a culinary sauce of late.

Unless I missed an update from my alma mater, it is still spelled glace and pronounced glahs...not glaze. Glaze is for doughnuts.

Glace, or "to glace'" means to coat. Demi-glace means to half coat or half glaze and is usually considered a sauce. It is commonly thought to be of a beef or veal base (which is mostly true in classical cuisine), but you can probably make a demi-glace out of a lot of food items: Pineapple demi-glace, beet demi glace, chicken demi-glace, mushroom demi-glace...... However, if you see just demi-glace, assume a reduction of sauce espagnole and white veal stock....

Venting around the table....

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Recently Announced Upcoming Chef Kevin Event

More fun in Manito:

I will be cooking for another food & wine dinner at Willett's Winery In Manito. The past two wine dinners, with the same menu, were almost instant sell-outs. New menu this time, so mark your calendars for August 11. I haven't worked on the menu yet, but I'm sure I can equal or better my last efforts. Not enough? Cris has informed me that they will also have a few new wines available by then. Still not enough? Local jazz\blues guitarist, Joe Metzka will be the musical entertainment. Time and price to be determined soon. There is an e-mail link to Willett's on their website, e-mail them at or call (309) 968-7070 for reservations.

See ya around the table....

Monday, March 26, 2007

Downtown Pushcarts

Over on Peoria Pundit, Billy was wondering if the seasonal influx of pushcarts have appeared downtown. I was down there last week and a few were setting up.

It is hard to believe I'm all for free enterprise when I'm against the pushcarts. Before you start looking for the comment section to rip off a scathing reply picture this:

Kroger has 2 liter Dr. Pepper products on sale and sets up a stand in front of Schnucks. How 'bout Komatsu setting up a clothing cart infront of Cat's clothes store? What if Jim McComb set up some cars in front of the Toyota Dealership? What if area lawyers started setting desks in front of Jannsen and Gary Rafool's law offices a few hours a day? Barbers setting up shop in front of your barber shop? Lowes setting up right outside of Nena True Value? What if One World set up a coffee cart in front of Starbucks in Grand Prairie? Barnes & Noble selling the Top 20 CD & NYT Best seller list in front of Borders?

I know this all sounds sort of silly, but isn't that what is essentially being done with downtown psuhcarts? One may argue that the downtown business should get their own pushcart. Kind of seems silly when they are already there. I guess more of what I'm saying is this: If it is OK for two dozen restaurants to temporarily set up shop a few hours a day down town, what keeps and why shouldn't the above situations (as silly as they may seem) from occurring? Think about the above paragraph actually happening. Really. If the city allows the pushcarts, isn't it or wouldn't it be discriminating against any other business wanting to offer its good and services anywhere in the city as long as they had the right permits, paid fees and appropriate cart size? I should have the right to sell diamond engagement rings in front of Jones Brothers Jewelers (even though that probably would be lousy business sense).

Better yet, what would the response if those eateries down town set up a pushcart in front of the pushcart owners' main restaurant? What if Adam's Street Cafe set up an evening pushcart in front of Haddad's for a few hours? I bet they'd get chased off with a broom.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

And The Walls Come Tumblin' Down

But not on their own accord...

What is missing from this picture?

How about a big yellow endloader poised to do some "remodeling"?

Actually, it already has:

About 45 Name This Peoria Landmark pictures ago, Peoria Illinoisan posted a picture of the old red barn behind the ex-Underwood Furniture building next to GFS and Culvers. I made a comment that it may be slated for demolition.

Well, it is. One really hates to see things like this go, but I guess in the middle of the city, an old, falling apart barn has little but nostalgia versus progress set forth by new owners of the ex- Eric's Great Steaks building.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Where Chef Kevin is Cooking in April

I get to breathe a little bit in April! I tried to make up some snow cancelled classes along with my usually routine and slammed myself. Oh, well. Kept me out of the bars :)

Anyway, below are the places you can find me cooking in "April":

Vegan Cuisine: March 27 at The Bronze Frog 6:00 - 9:00 PM:
One of the most challenging cuisines for anyone to cook. Without any meat or meat by-products, it is hard to put together diverse and nutritious meals.. Tonight’s menu includes: Native grain cakes (a twist on Italian polenta) with Wild Mushroom Ragout, Five Spice and Wasabi crusted Black Bean Cake over Vegetables & Soba Noodles, Blackened Tofu on Seitan Etouffee, a vegan version of the Caribbean dish Picadillo and Apple Strudel for dessert. If interested, call quickly as this one may be sold out!

Brunch at Panache April 1 9:30 AM-1:00 PM
French Rolled Omelets with herb seasoned oven roasted new potatoes
Omelet fillings choices will be: Bacon, mushroom, swiss or Shrimp, tomato, black olive, feta or Vegetable
Breakfast Enchilada
Scrambled eggs, chorizo, onions, bell peppers, tomatoes & Jack cheese wrapped in a tortilla and baked in Enchilada sauce
Eggs Ala King
Two eggs baked in pastry shells and smothered in Chicken ala King

One Pot Meals: April 3 at From the Field 6:00 - 9:00 PM :
(This is a HANDS ON class) Tired of washing so many pots and pans at the end of each meal? Tonight you get the opportunity to learn four dishes to help decrease you after dinner drudgery. Shrimp Fried Rice, Malay Style Chicken & Sweet Potato Stew, Beef Ropa Vieja and Grouper with Spring Vegetables.

Private, April 13 (for those of you attending, didn't want to think that I forgot!)

Food & Wine Experience Dinner at Willett's Winery & Cellar in Manito, IL Saturday, April 14, 6:30 P.M.
This is a repeat of the sold out dinner we did in February. The menu: Smokin’ Shrimp Scampi with Rigatoni with Willett’s Chardonel, Three White Cheese Soup with Bacon & Apple with Willett’s Vidal Blanc, Roasted Strip Loin of Certified Angus Beef “Star of Texas” with Port Demi Glace, Oven Roasted New Potatoes, Vegetable Melange with Willett’s Chambourcin Grand Marnier Chevrè Cheesecake with Dried Apricot Sauce .. Willett’s Vignoles This dinner is $40.00 per person plus Dan and Cris were sampling some of their fruit wines (they also have an orchard in addition to a vineyard) after dinner. For further information or reservations, please contact Willett’s Winery & Cellar at (309) 968 7070 or at If interested, call quickly as this one may be sold out!

A Mediterranean Dinner: April 24 at The Bronze Frog 6:00 - 9:00 PM
We will start with a Tapas of Crostini with White Beans & Black Olive Tapenade , a first course of Moroccan Vegetable Salad, Main Course of Grouper Piedmontese with a Gratin of Zucchini, Tomatoes and Goat Cheese and a Peach, Pistachio and Mascarpone “Parfait” for dessert.

Salmon Four Ways. (This is a HANDS ON class) April 25 at From the Field 6:00 - 9:00 PM
Tonight you will be preparing 4 different Salmon entrees. Salmon Williamette (Salmon braised in Red Wine with Forest Mushrooms), Mojo Salmon (marinated in Rum & Lime), Pan Seared Rilettes of Salmon in Hoisin & Garlic Chile Paste and Salmon with Vegetables en Papillote (Baked..Steamed in Parchment Paper)

Tentative Blogger Bash\cookout, April 28.

Ribs in the Kitchen. (This is a Demonstration & HANDS ON class) May 1 at From the Field 6:00 - 9:00 PM
Most people do not have access to a smoker and find it hard to make great ribs at home. Chef Kevin will get the ribs started in a demonstration and we will break into groups to prepare the rest of the meal to include: Smoky BBQ Sauce, Tidewater Coleslaw, Drunken Baked Beans and Chophouse Potato Salad.

See you around the table (if I have time to poke my head out of the kitchen!)

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Chef Kevin Gets A Shout Out

My friend Bill Turney, owner of From The Field Cooking School in Morton gives me a shout out on a cooking show segment that he did on WMBD recently. The recipe is Poulet Champignon or Chicken with Mushrooms. For it's simplicity, as Bill explains, it is a very tasty entree. The recipe itself is probably over 100 years old and was most likely refined or created by the father of modern cuisine, Auguste Escoffier. This is a staple in my culinary arsenal. Here is the recipe; it serves 2.

2 tablespoons flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon white pepper
2 each boneless skinless chicken breasts (about 5-6 ounces each)
2 tablespoons clarified butter
2 tablespoons minced shallot
1/2 cup sliced mushrooms
2 fluid ounces dry white wine
2 fluid ounces chicken stock
2 fluid ounces heavy cream
1 tablespoon chopped chives, or parsley

1. Place flour and spices in a zip-lock bag. Add chicken breasts. Shake bag until chicken is well coated. Pat off excess flour.
2. Heat 10" saute pan over high heat. Reduce heat to medium high and add clarified butter. Carefully, add chicken to pan placing the smooth side down first.
3. Cook for two minutes. Reduce heat to medium. Cook until chicken is lightly browned. Turn chicken over.
4. Cook two minutes and add shallots. Cook for one minute. Add mushrooms to pan.
5. Continue cooking until mushrooms begin to get limp. Increase heat to high and add white wine. Cook until approximately 1/2 of the wine has cooked away.
6. Add stock & cream. Cook until liquid has reduced by 1/2. Re-season sauce with salt & white pepper, if necessary. Swirl in chives.

See you around the table......

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Got a Question for Google

I got an e-mail from a friend that said she found the below on a Google search: she was trying to find where I had mentioned Jeff "The Frugal Gourmet" Smith.

Chef Kevin's Culinary Rant & Raves:
Jeff says it isn't about the money, so your cheap ass owners might be ... Confectious appetizers will be prepared by the revered Chef Kevin and a cash bar ...

Ummm...can anyone tell me how Google takes two completely different quotes from two seperate posts puts them in a 20 quart Hobart mixer and comes up with the above? One quote had to do with the Bears possibly going after Jeff Garcia the other a post about me catering\promoting the Erin Ivey CD release party. I get the Jeff part, but how on earth do they put the Ivey soiree into it?

Baffled around the table....

Friday, March 09, 2007

Wine Icon Dies

Ernest Gallo, the patriarch of the California wine industry has died at age 97.

I know, many of you make fun of Gallo wines. Known for things like jug wine (which were at one time a Zinfandel\Grenache blend (they are big grapes that make a lot of juice..and now people search out these grapes..Turley Single Vineyard Zins have known to sell for $100+ a bottle)) and wines like Thunderbird and Night Train.

But Gallo makes, and made, some great wines. I had a bottle of their 1978 Limited Release Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon (aged 60 months in Slovakian oak barrels...nobody ages wine like that anymore..not even the major Bordeaux houses) a few years back. It was served blind with a few mid $ California Cabs and some mid level Bordeauxs. Blew their socks off. The $9 price tag was still on the bottle (bought at Ben Schwartz University Store). The same applied to the 1983 version of this wine, which I still possess a bottle.

Oh, so you won't drink Gallo wines. Ever had one of these: Gallo of Sonoma, Mirassou, Louis M. Martini, Ecco Domani, Livingston, Red Bicyclette, Frei Brothers, Anapamu, Turning Leaf, Rancho Zabaco, Napa Valley Vineyards, Copperidge, Redwood Creek, Black Swan, Whitehaven, Tott's & Andre sparkling wines,....those are the ones I know off the top of my head...they make or are involved with the making of over 40 labels. And what do you think the E&J stands for in E&J Brandy?

On the other hand, you don't see a lot of their top wines: Gallo of Sonoma Laguna Vineyard Chardonnay, Barelli Creek Cabernet Sauvignon, Gallo of Sonoma Dry Creek Valley Frei Vineyard Zinfandel, Stefani Vineyard Chardonnay or Northern Sonoma Estate Chardonnay\Cabernet Sauvignon, etc.

But all in all, what this guy (& his brother) did started the California wine industry after Prohibition. People like Robert Mondavi refined it.

Maybe its time for the '83.

Trans Fat Ban: You Have Got To Be Kidding Me, Part 2

Well, well, well. What has NY started? What is the whole country going to do? Apparently the transfat ban looks like it is going to include foods that NATURALLY contain transfats, which includes butter, beef, milk, cheese.... Starbucks nationwide now want all their baked goods from suppliers to be transfat free. I like this quote:

"The whole matter shows that the rules have gone too far", said Greg Miller, a spokesman for the National Dairy Council. “Things like a New York ban on trans fats create hysteria, and when you create hysteria people overreact, and when people overreact they start taking whole food groups out of their diet because there might be a little trans in it,” he said.

As the article states, a croissant made with palm oil isn't the same as butter. Take that one step further and ask yourself "What kind of unpronounceable food additive are they going to add to make it TASTE like butter? MMMMMM. That nice healthy tomato in your store right now? A lot of them are being treated with mold inhibitors...chow on that. Transfat or mold inhibitor. Give me a croissant with some medium rare roast beef, cheddar cheese and horseradish mayo...hold the tomato.

Like I said before, if crap like this keeps up, in 10 years all your favorite restaurant is going to serve is corn & brussel sprouts.

You can read the whole article here

In conclusion. My grandfather lived to 82 years old. I firmly believe he would have lived longer if it weren't for the State of Illinois & IDOT. Eggs & bacon every morning, butter, a steady supply of red meat, bread with a little schmear of bacon fat, lots of fatty know all that high cholesterol\high fat food that is supposed to give you an instant heart attack. In making fun of people going to health clubs, I remembering him once saying: Who needs to go to a health club? I have a 175 acre health club out there". What he was refering to was his farm. Ya can't be 80+ years old and farm 175 acres and be in shitty health. Think hard work might take care of all those "horrible things" he ate?

Enjoying my steamed brussel sprouts with no salt, butter, margarine or bacon chards around the table.....

Sunday, March 04, 2007

Another Peoria Webpage!

I was goofing around (like I don't have better things to do or need to do) on the computer and I came across this website,

Apparently, they have found 3 Peoria area bloggers. The site has a lot of things happening and going around in Peoria.

No, I'm not a paid endorser of this site...just passing along info. :)


NOTE: I have disabled the link below because apparently clicking on it turns your computer into jello or something nasty. I missing something (which I wouldn't doubt) or has Prego's blog disappeared into blogosphereblackhole? I noticed this a few days ago, but thought it was my own computer ineptedness (or lack of savvy) to figure out what happened. Hmmm....