Tuesday, May 10, 2011

A little trick

A while back a friend of mine gave me an antelope roast that he had acquired as the result of a successful hunt. I myself haven't hunted since I was a kid, but knowing how great wild game can be, I accepted the gift and after prepping it with my 'Chef Scotty's SW spice/rub' and infusing it with garlic, I then wrapped it and tucked it away in the freezer.

I pulled it out to thaw the day before Mothers Day in order to cook and serve it as a mothers day feast. I pasted it with mixture of mayonnaise, mustard, and horseradish, in order to keep the juices in...(often times wild game is very lean and it is important to preserve inner moisture in some fashion). It was obvious to me that it would have a spicy 'ting' because of the 'SW spice' as well as the horseradish in the paste, so I decided to offset that with a sweet raspberry sauce.

I didn't have any antelope stock to use in the sauce, so here's the trick. I cut up fresh celery, carrots, and red onion, surrounded and covered the roast then added a bit of sea salt and fresh ground pepper before putting it in the oven. When the roast reached about 142 deg.F./ med. rare, I removed it from the oven and poured the juice in the bottom of the roasting pan into a sauce pan. Yep! That's my antelope stock. I added a healthy pat of butter and some fresh raspberry jam reducing it until it thickened to my liking. Walla! Raspberry sauce...And what a treat.

Weather you make gravy or sauce the taste is in the dripping's. Have fun cooking!

FYI: Don't miss our 'Spring Sale' at LasagnaAndMoreByMail.com. 10% off on all orders for a limited time....And Pick up some of my SW Spice/rub for some great results cooking you favorite meats, fish, or poultry.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Every dish a work of art.

Have you ever gone to your favorite restaurant to have that one dish that they make, the one that brings you back again and agian; Only to say, 'it just wasn't as good as last time'. A few weeks later you give it another shot and find that the same dish was fantastic, 'better then it ever was'.

Yesterday, while in the commercial kitchen where I spend much of my time, I was working with a relatively 'new' employee whos job it is to prepare food for the Vero Amore kitchen where I am the Corp. Exec Chef. As a prep cook, it is his job to work from our recipe book,

turning basic raw materials into usable finished and semi-finished products such as salad dressings, Mozzarella cheese, pizza dough, and so on. I have observed that he goes 'by the book', that is to say that he measures everything as per each individual recipe and follows the instructions to the tee. This should insure that it's the same every time right? Wrong!

When following printed recipes there are several things to remember. We are often using live products such as herbs or produce, even spices, each with it's own inherent taste values. That is to say, for instance, when making fresh basil pesto the leaves we use today will taste different then the ones we use next week.
There's an old saying used by computer software writers..."s..t in, s..t out". This is true in making good food as well. Making a great meal is more like art then it is like rocket science and it all starts with the prep. When putting together the various items that you will later combine into you 'masterpiece' remember to use your senses. Listen, see, smell, feel, and taste. Each of your facilities holds a sensual key to the quality of the food you are preparing, cooking, and serving.

Cooking great food is reliant on a 'Now' experience. Enjoy the moment....and then enjoy the food.
(Pictured here is Chefs Scotty's South West Spice/Rub...great as an enhancer or a rib. Available on our web site.)

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Cookin' veggies....

Hello out there in kitchen land. Since I just finished a great batch of Vegetable Lasagnas for our customers at LasagnaAndMoreByMail.com. I thought I'd give you all a tip or two on how to cook veggies in order to preserve taste, quality, and nutritional value.

For many domestic and commercial chefs, it's simple...turn up the heat, pour in the viscose...(either butter or oil)... dump in the chopped vegetables and cook the old fashioned way.....Burn em'! Well, maybe it doesn't seem like you're burning them but when you think about it, there's only one reason why they put heat controls on a stove top....so you can choose your heat levels.

So, here's my suggestions: First remember that whatever viscose you use, it will expand, like anything else, when it is heated... So use it sparingly.

Second, add a touch of water...or even forgo the oil/butter and use only H2O. This will help steam in the taste. Turn on your range to a very low setting. Roll in whatever herbs and/or spices you want to use as the veggies begin to heat up. Now here's the 'ticket' to flavor and quality....Cook them slooooooowly, turning them as they cook, sweat, and clarify. Don't over heat them or cook them for too long...Taste em, and finish them the way you love them. And remember, if you are adding anything else to them,, meats, sauce, pasta, or using them in something that will keep them cooking longer like casserole or lasagna....par cook them...this means under cook them a bit, keeping in mind the total time needed for cooking perfection.

I once heard that if you'd like to learn to slow your life down a bit...."plant a carrot, watch it grow"...Cooking is a art and a joy to be savored....Slow down and enjoy it.

If you'd like to test this cooking method go to LasagnaAndMoreByMail.com and choose our Vegetable Lasagna... We'll send it right to your door.

Have fun in the kitchen of life...slow down and cook up a great life.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Happy New Year!

Welcome to 2011! May you have the Peace and Prosperity that we all deserve in this coming year.

Since Lasagna is our crowning dish here at http://lasagnaandmorebymail.com/, I thought I'd give you a little back ground on the origin of Lasagna. According to Wikipedia:

Lasagna, (lasagne...plural) is a Italian pasta casserole dish, consisting of layers of pasta, sauce, and various other ingredients. Originally the word lasagna referred to a 'cooking pot'...but now it describes the dish itself. There are two theories as to the origin of lasagna, both are Greek. The main theory is that lasagna comes from the Greek word 'laganon'...a flat pasta cut into strips. lagana is still a flat unleavened bread in Greece. The other theory takes the Greek word 'lasana' or 'lasanon' which means 'trivet or stand for a pot'. The Romans borrow the word...now Latin, 'lasanum' which refers to the dish that the casserole is cooked in.

A recipe for Lasagna was publish in the first cook book ever printed in the United Kingdom, leading to the urban legend that Lasagna is a British dish. With all due respect, I've eaten British food....and I highly doubt that Lasagna is original to English Cuisine.

The best way to test the theories of the origin of Lasagna is to get over to LasganaAndMoreByMail.com, order our Two Meats, Four Cheese, and/or Vegetable Lasagna. We'll have it delivered to your doorstep and the rest of the testing is up to you.

Hope to hear from you soon. Happy New Year!

Saturday, December 25, 2010

The coming new year

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to you all. I hope that your time was well spent and that you and your family and friends were able to share the love and joy that such times offer.

With New Years approaching, those of you who are having friends and family over to bring in 2011 might consider getting your orders in to us so that we can ship them to you in time. We at LasagnaAndMoreByMail.com will be shipping Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday of this week all over America in order to assure you that the Lasagna and/or Manicottis you want to share will get to you promptly.

Here's a little tip about cooking that not only applies to cooking Lasagna, but goes for most meats, roasts, poultry, fish; anything you will be baking. Before placing your food in the oven, let it sit on the kitchen counter for a hour or two to bring it to room temperature. This will allow for even cooking through out. Generally speaking, poultry should be brought to 165 deg. F....while the internal temperature of meats should get to 145 deg. F. in order to kill any bacteria that might cause food poisoning. One more thing; Once you remove your dish from the oven its temperature will continue to rise as much as 5-7 deg, so removal a bit early according to your meat thermometer is a good idea depending on how well done you like your dish.

So have fun in the kitchen and don't forget the most important ingredient....Love!

Happy New Year from Chef Scotty and your friends at LasagaAndMoreByMail.com
Note: Picture is of our Meat Manicotti. Here's what Craig of Mill Valley had to say about it.
"The Manicotti is Delicious. I have eaten in many San Francisco, North Beach establishments and yours rivals the best of them. The red wine reduction sauce is superb, but the manicotti itself is great as well. The pasta, the meat, the cheese all have balance of flavor; You've really done it with this menu item."

Wednesday, December 22, 2010


With Christmas fast approaching, and today the last day for LasagnaAndMoreByMail.com to ship, in order to get it there by Christmas...I can finally exhale and spend a bit of time exercising my 'other' passion; writing...and my 'other other' passion, spending time with my family. Oh and I have to get my last minute shopping for Christmas done, and decorate, and wrap presents, and, and, and....well so much for relaxing...

So Merry Christmas to you and yours....Happy Holidays and our best to you in 2011! If you are enjoying one of the many great food products we sent out over the last month since our site launch, Thank you. Since we've fed you, how about a little feed back via our contact page.

If you haven't ordered yet from LasagnaAndMoreByMail.com...better hurry if you'd like us to get your lasagna or manicotti to you in time for that New Years celebration.

Once again Happy Holidays and thank you from Chef Scotty , Bruce Guercio and all of us at LasagnaAndMoreByMail.com.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Welcome to your portal to great food and food chat

Hello and welcome to My Blog. I'm Chef Scotty, one of the founders of LasagnaAndMoreByMail.com
and I will be blogging away in hopes of sharing with you, the reader, some fun facts and knowledge about food cooking and perhaps more. I hope you enjoy this source of information and glean a bit of understanding that will help you cook up some tasty delights in your kitchen.
First, a bit about me. I have many passions in this fine life, two of which are cooking and writing.
The cooking part I've been doing since I started working in the restaurant business back when my I was 14 and my mom had to drive me to down town Phoenix where I bussed tables at 'Newtons Prime Rib'. It was there that I was thrust into the kitchen and became an instant 'Fry Cook' when the guy who had that job was...as we say in the business...a no-call no-show. Since then I have worked in numerous eating establishments, owned five of my own, and been Exec chef in a couple more. I am presently Corporate Executive Chef for the Vero Amore Restaurants, in Tucson, Arizona. Vero Amore is one of the few Certified Neopolitan Pizzaria's in the world and the U.S. A visit to Vero Amore, to enjoy our authentic wood fired pizza or any of the Italian 'fusion' dishes I've created, will bring a smile to your face should you live around, or be visiting, Tucson or Southern Arizona. Try veroamorepizza.com to check it out. Writing, on the other hand, has become a more recent passion for me discovered over the past seven years. With one novel finished and a couple more projects in the works, I trust I will be writing for the rest of my days...as well as cooking, as good food and conversation are, I think, a great match.
Enough about me for now. Let's talk cooking!
Salt! One of the basic ingredients in cooking but perhaps one of the most overused and most misunderstood. If you check your cook books you will find that almost all of them instruct us to 'salt the water' when cooking pasta or potatoes...But why? For many it is to increase the temperature of the water for faster cooking. It is said that Salt releases heat when it dissolves.
Truth is that one tablespoon of salt...(20grams)...added to 5 quarts of boiling water will only raise the boiling point temperature by several hundredths of a degree. If you hope your pasta will finish about a half second faster, then salt is the way to do this.
For others, when to add the salt is very important. Until recently, I was under the impression that the water should be 'vigorously boiling' before adding the salt, then add the pasta.
Truth here is; It doesn't matter when the salt is added, as salt dissolves easily in luke warm to boiling water and has no 'molecular memory' of when dissolution happens.
The reason for use of salt when cooking pasta, or potatoes, is because salt enhances the flavor of both. So salt away whenever you want and enjoy the fruits of your labors.
Thanks to Robert L. Wolke and his book 'What Einstein Told His Cook'.