Archives for the month of: March, 2010

I love to play with words. Puns, palindromes, anagrams, tongue twisters, rhymes, limericks, haiku and oxymorons. Contrary to the advice my mother gave me as a child, I also love to play with my food! I’m always thrilled when I can combine the two. The first word/food play that comes to mind is a hamburger I saw at a pub that was called: “Blackened Bleu” (Burger). A twist on “Black and Blue” and Cajun blackened burger topped with bleu cheese. Here’s a palindrome I just found: “Emil, a sleepy baby, peels a lime”. Then there’s the: “Evil Olive” and ”A nut for a jar of tuna”. Everyone has heard of “Baked Alaska”, “Jumbo Shrimp” and “Crispy Cream” for oxymorons.

Here’s a fun appetizer recipe I just came up with:

Grilled Jumbo Shrimp with a Citrus Cajun Martini Marinade
By
Trusan

Makes 6 skewers

(This was inspired by the Cajun martini’s served at Kilgore Trout’s. You get an ice cold martini where jalapeños have been marinading in the vodka over night)

Citrus Cajun Martini Marinade:

2 LG. Jalapeños (cut vertically – seeds and veins included)
1 Orange (Juice and Zest)
1 Lemon (Juice and Zest)
1 Lime (Juice and Zest)
4 Cloves Garlic (Crushed and rough dice)
3 TBS. Olive Oil
375 ml Vodka (about 2 cups) or (Tequila if you prefer)
1 teas. Sea Salt
1 teas. Ground Black Pepper
1 sprig Fresh Oregano
1 TBS Ponzu

Grilled Jumbo Shrimp:

6 Jumbo Shrimp (peeled and de-vained)
6 Wooden Skewers (soaked in water for about an hour)

Add and mix all marinade ingredients in a non-reactive (use stainless steel, ceramic or glass) bowl.

Peel and de-vain shrimp and place in bowl of marinade. Cover and place in refrigerator for at least 1 hour.

Soak wooden skewers in water while the shrimp are marinating.

Pre-heat grill to medium high. When ready to grill, Place each shrimp on a skewer and put on grill. Turn once when they easily lift off grate and grill until opaque but not over cooked. You might have to do a test one to get this part perfected.

If there is a major flame flare up, have a squirt bottle of water handy to tame it down.

Enjoy with a Cajun Martini, Margarita or and ice cold Imported Beer.

I’ll conclude this blog with a Haiku:

“Jumbo shrimp are drunk
The icy hot martini
Taste buds in delight”

Sincerely,

Chef Trusan

http://www.trusancuisines.com
trusan@trusancuisines.com

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I was driving down to Denver the other day listening to KBCO when they played: “Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic” by the Police. Being the very beginning of spring, “When the days are getting longer and the nights are getting stronger than moonshine” (to quote another iconic musical group), everything is starting to thaw out. I am reminded of the magical culinary delicacies that Mother Nature is promising us. Farmers markets will soon be sprouting up with her tender pencil sized spears of asparagus, peas, spinach and lettuces. Just the thought of green after a white and cold winter warms my soul. When the grass pokes its delicate green blades through the contrasting ephemeral spring snow, I get visions of peas in cream. It’s hard to decide which is my favorite. Is it asparagus or peas? O.K., hands down it’s asparagus with peas running a close second.

Nothing beats “from garden (or farm) to table” in quality, nutrition and taste. I encourage you to either grow your own veggies, or buy local from an organic co-op or CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) such as the 63rd. St. Farm if you live in the Boulder area: http://www.63rdstfarm.com

Here’s one of my favorite recipes for asparagus:

Asparagus, Red Pepper and Three Cheese Frittata
by
Trusan

Serves 6

Ingredients:

12 LG Whole eggs
1/4 Cup Heavy Cream (or half and half)
3/4 Cup Grated Mozzarella
3/4 Cup Grated Gruyere or Swiss cheese
1/4 Cup Grated Parmesan
2 Dash Nutmeg
1/2 teas Ground pepper
1/4 teas Sea salt
1 TBS Olive oil
1 Pound Thin asparagus (cut on the diagonal into 1/4-inch slices)
1 Med Red bell pepper (cored and diced)
1 LG Shallot (chopped fine)
2 Med Garlic cloves (minced)
2 TBS Chopped flat-leaf parsley leaves
2 LG Vine ripe tomato (sliced into wheels)

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Whisk the nutmeg, salt and pepper, cream and 1/2 of the cheeses with the eggs. Set aside.

Heat oil in a large, oven-proof skillet over medium heat. Cook asparagus, peppers and shallots until asparagus is bright green and peppers are just tender, 3 to 4 minutes. Stir in garlic and 1/2 the parsley.
Pour egg mixture into skillet. Sprinkle with the remaining cheese, place tomato wheels on top, scatter parsley evenly and cook until slightly set, lifting edges to let uncooked mixture run beneath, for 2 minutes.

Transfer to oven and cook until eggs are cooked through but still soft and cheese is a nice golden brown, about 25 – 30 minutes. Remove from oven, cut into 6 wedges, and serve immediately.

I hope you enjoy this as much as I do.

Sincerely,

Chef Trusan

http://www.TrusanCuisines.com
trusan@trusancuisines.com

I recently got into a rather fiery discussion on the proper way to cook rice. Do you start rice in cold water or do you throw it into rapidly boiling water referred to as the “Pasta Method”? I’ve always been taught to start rice in cold water with a little salt and oil, bring it to a boil then reduce to a simmer and cook covered for about 20 – 25 min. This has always worked for me. It’s a standard in the industry and used by every chef I’ve known and/or worked for. I just discovered that some people throw rice into boiling water until done, then strain it through a sieve. Hmmm, I’ve never heard of this before. It just sounded odd to me. The first thing I did was to ask several chef friends of mine if they had ever heard of the later. Karen thought that throwing rice into boiling water was preposterous, completely contrary to nature, reason, or common sense. In other words, absurd! John said that yes, this was a valid way to cook certain types of rice. I then consulted two faithful reference books: James Beard’s “Theory and Practice of Good Cooking” and “Joy of Cooking”. James Beard attests to the later of throwing rice into boiling water. Joy of Cooking says to put rice into a pre-determined amount of boiling water, then cook over very low heat, covered, for 15- 18 min. I then found James McNair’s “Rice Cookbook”. He uses 3 different cooking methods mostly adding liquid to the rice and then bringing it to a boil. McNair also states the pasta method is good if you are adding rice to a dish in which the rice will continue to cook further. There are also the risotto, baked rice, Spanish rice, sticky rice and sushi rice methods, which are topics for another study.

I am going to put this through the “Proof of the (Rice) Pudding” test so to speak. Here are my results:

Steam Cooking Method:
Put liquid, rice, pinch of salt and 1 tsp butter into
pan. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer and cover
for 20 min. (or per directions on package)
Let rest for 5 min. and fluff with fork.

Pasta Method:
Throw rice into rapidly boiling water until done then strain through a sieve.
______________________________________________________________________________________
Jasmine Rice
Steam Cooking Method:
Cooked nice and tender, somewhat fluffy and a bit sticky. One cup yields 4 cups cooked rice.

Pasta Method:
The rice didn’t stick together but didn’t fluff up either. One cup yields 3 1/2 cups cooked rice.

Lundburg’s Brown Rice
Steam Cooking Method:
Cooks a little more meaty than Jasmine but not as sticky or fluffy. One half cup yields 1 1/2 cup cooked rice.

Pasta Method:
The rice came out cooked but very dry. One half cup yields 1 cup cooked rice.

Basmati Rice
Steam Cooking Method:
Slightly fluffy and minimal stickiness. Nice nuttyFlavor. One cup yields 3 1/2 cups cooked rice.

Pasta Method:
Cooked Tender, fluffs just slightly. The kernels didn’t stick together. One cup yields 3 cups cooked rice.

Lundburg’s Wild Rice
Steam Cooking Method:
Cooked pretty tender for wild rice. The hull opened but the kernel didn’t split or swell up. Wild rice doesn’t really fluff. Six ounces yields 3 cups cooked rice.

Pasta Method:
Came out about the same.

In conclusion, I prefer the classic cook rice like you’re cooking rice method. I like rice to stick together slightly, it’s easier to eat and it holds together nicer. I would, however, use the “Pasta Method” if I was adding rice to a dish in which the rice will continue to cook or to substitute it for orzo pasta for someone with a gluten free diet.

Here’s the basic recipe for cooking rice:

The general rule is 1 part rice to 2 parts water. (Consult the package for specific cooking directions.)

1.) After you have rinsed the rice until the water is clear, put rice and cold water in a pan with a pat of butter or a little olive or veggie oil and a couple pinches of salt. Stir once to incorporate everything. Do not stir again!

2.) Bring to a boil for about a minute, then reduce to a simmer and cover with a tight fitting lid.

3.) Let simmer for about 20 minutes, remove the lid and if you see tunnels in the rice, it’s done.

4.) Check for tenderness. If you want the rice a bit more tender, add more liquid and leave on the stove for a bit longer. If you want the rice more firm, use less liquid and less cooking time.

If you’re just not confident in your rice cooking skills, electric rice cookers are awesome!

Sincerely,

Chef Trusan

http://www.trusancuisines.com
trusan@trusancuisines.com

I recently got into a rather fiery discussion on the proper way to cook rice. Do you start rice in cold water or do you throw it into rapidly boiling water referred to as the “Pasta Method”? I’ve always been taught to start rice in cold water with a little salt and oil, bring it to a boil then reduce to a simmer and cook covered for about 20 – 25 min. This has always worked for me. It’s a standard in the industry and used by every chef I’ve known and/or worked for. I just discovered that some people throw rice into boiling water until done, then strain it through a sieve. Hmmm, I’ve never heard of this before. It just sounded odd to me. The first thing I did was to ask several chef friends of mine if they had ever heard of the later. Karen thought that throwing rice into boiling water was preposterous, completely contrary to nature, reason, or common sense. In other words, absurd! John said that yes, this was a valid way to cook certain types of rice. I then consulted two faithful reference books: James Beard’s “Theory and Practice of Good Cooking” and “Joy of Cooking”. James Beard attests to the later of throwing rice into boiling water. Joy of Cooking says to put rice into a pre-determined amount of boiling water, then cook over very low heat, covered, for 15- 18 min. I then found James McNair’s “Rice Cookbook”. He uses 3 different cooking methods mostly adding liquid to the rice and then bringing it to a boil. McNair also states the pasta method is good if you are adding rice to a dish in which the rice will continue to cook further. There are also the risotto, baked rice, Spanish rice, sticky rice and sushi rice methods, which are topics for another study.

I am going to put this through the “Proof of the (Rice) Pudding” test so to speak. Here are my results:

Steam Cooking Method:
Put liquid, rice, pinch of salt and 1 tsp butter into
pan. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer and cover
for 20 min. (or per directions on package)
Let rest for 5 min. and fluff with fork.

Pasta Method:
Throw rice into rapidly boiling water until done then strain through a sieve.
______________________________________________________________________________________
Jasmine Rice
Steam Cooking Method:
Cooked nice and tender, somewhat fluffy and a bit sticky. One cup yields 4 cups cooked rice.

Pasta Method:
The rice didn’t stick together but didn’t fluff up either. One cup yields 3 1/2 cups cooked rice.

Lundburg’s Brown Rice
Steam Cooking Method:
Cooks a little more meaty than Jasmine but not as sticky or fluffy. One half cup yields 1 1/2 cup cooked rice.

Pasta Method:
The rice came out cooked but very dry. One half cup yields 1 cup cooked rice.

Basmati Rice
Steam Cooking Method:
Slightly fluffy and minimal stickiness. Nice nuttyFlavor. One cup yields 3 1/2 cups cooked rice.

Pasta Method:
Cooked Tender, fluffs just slightly. The kernels didn’t stick together. One cup yields 3 cups cooked rice.

Lundburg’s Wild Rice
Steam Cooking Method:
Cooked pretty tender for wild rice. The hull opened but the kernel didn’t split or swell up. Wild rice doesn’t really fluff. Six ounces yields 3 cups cooked rice.

Pasta Method:
Came out about the same.

In conclusion, I prefer the classic cook rice like you’re cooking rice method. I like rice to stick together slightly, it’s easier to eat and it holds together nicer. I would, however, use the “Pasta Method” if I was adding rice to a dish in which the rice will continue to cook or to substitute it for orzo pasta for someone with a gluten free diet.

Here’s the basic recipe for cooking rice:

The general rule is 1 part rice to 2 parts water. (Consult the package for specific cooking directions.)

1.) After you have rinsed the rice until the water is clear, put rice and cold water in a pan with a pat of butter or a little olive or veggie oil and a couple pinches of salt. Stir once to incorporate everything. Do not stir again!

2.) Bring to a boil for about a minute, then reduce to a simmer and cover with a tight fitting lid.

3.) Let simmer for about 20 minutes, remove the lid and if you see tunnels in the rice, it’s done.

4.) Check for tenderness. If you want the rice a bit more tender, add more liquid and leave on the stove for a bit longer. If you want the rice more firm, use less liquid and less cooking time.

If you’re just not confident in your rice cooking skills, electric rice cookers are awesome!

Sincerely,

Chef Trusan

http://www.trusancuisines.com
trusan@trusancuisines.com

Saturday was my birthday and I checked off another thing on my list that I’ve always wanted to do, go to the Frozen Dead Guy Days Festival in Nederland, CO.  Kinda odd I know, but I do like checking out the more unique things in life (or in this case, the frozen dead). Some guy back in 1989 was cryogenically frozen in hopes of being thawed out when a cure for his terminal heart condition was found. Through cryonics, he is resting at -60 degrees in a Tough Shed in relatives back yard ever since. An entire world-renowned Mardi Gras festival of sorts has been established around Grandpa. Festivities include: “Grampa’s in the Tough Shed” film showing, a Parade of Hearses, a chilly polar plunge in the lake, Frozen Turkey Bowlng and a Frozen T-shirt contest among others. I stayed for the parade and the polar plunge. (read the entire story at: http://www.nederlandchamber.org/events_fdgd-story.html)

As always, I am thinking culinary and what hilariously morbid theme food and drinks I can come up with. So here goes:

Frozen Dead Guy Popsicles
Core Zero Strawberry Daiquiri
Rocky Mountain Oyster Ice Cream
Blueberry Shave Dry Ice
Polar Plunge Iced Sweet Pinecone Tea

The point I’m making is to have fun with food and make it adventuresome, awesome and a unique experience!

Sincerely,

Chef Trusan

P.S. I can’t wait till Halloween!

http://www.trusancuisines.com
trusan@trusancuisines.com

Saturday was my birthday and I checked off another thing on my list that I’ve always wanted to do, go to the Frozen Dead Guy Days Festival in Nederland, CO. Kinda odd I know, but I do like checking out the more unique things in life (or in this case, the frozen dead). Some guy back in 1989 was cryogenically frozen in hopes of being thawed out when a cure for his terminal heart condition was found. Through cryonics, he is resting at -60 degrees in a Tough Shed in relatives back yard ever since. An entire world-renowned Mardi Gras festival of sorts has been established around Grandpa. Festivities include: “Grampa’s in the Tough Shed” film showing, a Parade of Hearses, a chilly polar plunge in the lake, Frozen Turkey Bowlng and a Frozen T-shirt contest among others. I stayed for the parade and the polar plunge. (read the entire story at: http://www.nederlandchamber.org/events_fdgd-story.html)

As always, I am thinking culinary and what hilariously morbid theme food and drinks I can come up with. So here goes:

Frozen Dead Guy Popsicles
Core Zero Strawberry Daiquiri
Rocky Mountain Oyster Ice Cream
Blueberry Shave Dry Ice
Polar Plunge Iced Sweet Pinecone Tea

The point I’m making is to have fun with food and make it adventuresome, awesome and a unique experience!

Sincerely,

Chef Trusan

P.S. I can’t wait till Halloween!

http://www.trusancuisines.com
trusan@trusancuisines.com

It’s time to move away from hanging out in the grocery store check out lines with baskets overflowing with frozen dinners, pizzas, boxes, cans and jars of prepared “food” items. Fear of cooking, lack of time, too many slices of burnt toast or making wall art out of pizza. None of these are excuses to abandon the gifts that mother nature has provided us with.

I hope to provide you with some tools to get you over the hump and into a new groove. One in which will catapult you into a new appreciation of what you are capable of in your own kitchen. You can do this!

Go ahead and cop an attitude when cooking. Allow for the supposed mistakes to turn into a culinary adventure, a creative journey full of unique flavors, textures and colors. Your families and friends will be lining up to the door of your kitchen once they’ve experienced the new you! Food after all, is a pivotal turning point for all kinds of occasions. Hold your head high, enjoy the journey and open yourself to a fresh, new world of culinary exploration.

Here are some of the tools to help you in establishing a joyous, healthy relationship with food and cooking. Next time you are at the grocery store (especially a store like Whole Foods), cruise the parameter of the store. Make yourself aware of all the “Parts” that are there. Notice the different colors, textures and diversity of produce available. Then move on to the dairy section and you’ll find all kinds of fascinating things there. Milk, eggs, butter, cream, and a bazillion kinds of cheeses. Next comes the meat department with beef, lamb, buffalo, turkey and chicken in their various cuts. The seafood section is usually right next door with an array of fish including local trout and other delectable items such as shrimp, scallops, crab and lobster. Ending up at the bakery, bring home a nice warm French baguette, an artesian loaf or focaccia. Shop the middle of the store for staples such as flour, sugar, oil, spices, pasta, etc. Make it a point to buy as local, organic and seasonal as you can.

Find a cookbook you really like. One that has simple recipes and lots of full page color photos. Remember when you couldn’t finish what you ordered and your mom told you that your eyes were bigger than your stomach? She was right! We tend to eat with our eyes first. Pick a recipe that is visually appealing to you. 

Make cooking an event (no matter how large or small). Have family members and friends chip in to dice, slice and mix ingredients. Kids love to help! This is also a fun way to get to know someone.

Cook from your heart. Use all your senses: Look at contrasting colors, shapes and appeal. Feel the various textures: the softness of flour and the prickliness of a pineapple. Smell the spices and the stock simmering on the back burner. Listen to the sauté pan sizzle and sputter. Then taste the hot, sour, salty or sweet of your culinary creation.

Share with your with family, friends and loved ones. Food is what nourishes our bodies, let’s consider nourishing our imagination and spirits too.

Sincerely,

Chef Trusan

http://www.trusancuisines.com
trusan@trusancuisines.com

It’s time to move away from hanging out in the grocery store check out lines with baskets overflowing with frozen dinners, pizzas, boxes, cans and jars of prepared “food” items. Fear of cooking, lack of time, too many slices of burnt toast or making wall art out of pizza. None of these are excuses to abandon the gifts that mother nature has provided us with.

I hope to provide you with some tools to get you over the hump and into a new groove. One in which will catapult you into a new appreciation of what you are capable of in your own kitchen. You can do this!

Go ahead and cop an attitude when cooking. Allow for the supposed mistakes to turn into a culinary adventure, a creative journey full of unique flavors, textures and colors. Your families and friends will be lining up to the door of your kitchen once they’ve experienced the new you! Food after all, is a pivotal turning point for all kinds of occasions. Hold your head high, enjoy the journey and open yourself to a fresh, new world of culinary exploration.

Here are some of the tools to help you in establishing a joyous, healthy relationship with food and cooking. Next time you are at the grocery store (especially a store like Whole Foods), cruise the parameter of the store. Make yourself aware of all the “Parts” that are there. Notice the different colors, textures and diversity of produce available. Then move on to the dairy section and you’ll find all kinds of fascinating things there. Milk, eggs, butter, cream, and a bazillion kinds of cheeses. Next comes the meat department with beef, lamb, buffalo, turkey and chicken in their various cuts. The seafood section is usually right next door with an array of fish including local trout and other delectable items such as shrimp, scallops, crab and lobster. Ending up at the bakery, bring home a nice warm French baguette, an artesian loaf or focaccia. Shop the middle of the store for staples such as flour, sugar, oil, spices, pasta, etc. Make it a point to buy as local, organic and seasonal as you can.

Find a cookbook you really like. One that has simple recipes and lots of full page color photos. Remember when you couldn’t finish what you ordered and your mom told you that your eyes were bigger than your stomach? She was right! We tend to eat with our eyes first. Pick a recipe that is visually appealing to you. 

Make cooking an event (no matter how large or small). Have family members and friends chip in to dice, slice and mix ingredients. Kids love to help! This is also a fun way to get to know someone.

Cook from your heart. Use all your senses: Look at contrasting colors, shapes and appeal. Feel the various textures: the softness of flour and the prickliness of a pineapple. Smell the spices and the stock simmering on the back burner. Listen to the sauté pan sizzle and sputter. Then taste the hot, sour, salty or sweet of your culinary creation.

Share with your with family, friends and loved ones. Food is what nourishes our bodies, let’s consider nourishing our imagination and spirits too.

Sincerely,

Chef Trusan

http://www.trusancuisines.com
trusan@trusancuisines.com
Posted by Chef Trusan at 10:09 PM