Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Never Say Never!

So when I retired from the bar biz after a long stint at Rick's Key West, I swore I would never, ever bar tend again. Well guess what? I am and it feels good! Don't think I left my catering biz by no means. I just needed something a little different to fill in the off days. So I took a job at one of the most celebrated restaurants in Sanibel, The Lazy Flamingo and my first day was today. I had a blast and really think I made the right decision. The staffers were friendly, outgoing and, well, young.....at least younger than me. But I felt right at home chatting up the locals and tourists alike. The spectacular Gulf view really made everything fall into place.

So that was the personal stuff that went on today, now lets talk FOOD!!!!

My FB friend Robert Simon kindly sent me a bottle of what has to be one of the best seasoning blends I have ever tried. "Chef of the Future's Not Your Average Cajun Seasoning"  a gastronomical pleaser. I opened the bottle for the first time and took a big whiff of the aromatic blend and was blown away. First thing that came to mind was, "this would really mix well with a Bloody Mary" So I broke out the cheesy BM glasses (yes I have glasses designated for different cocktails other than the norm) and rimmed the glass with some key lime juice and then the seasoning blend. WOW!!!!! That added such depth to my already perfect drink that I had to have another. By then the dinner bell in my head was clanking away (or was it the vodka) so I thought "lets see how versatile this blend can be" well it didn't disappoint. I rubbed it on my chicken breast and sauteed away. The Chicken Breast was nestled atop of bed of pasta with a butter sauce and broccoli. I couldn't get enough of the tasty chicken that I barely touched the pasta. The "Not Your Average Cajun Seasoning" lived up to it's name. This was no average blend and Robert Simon has a GREAT product that I urge my friends and followers to try. Visit http://www.chef-ofthefuture.com/ to find out more about and order this great product. This will have to be an Internet purchase for right now as Robert stated "he was working on finding a distributor". Robert, FIND A DISTRIBUTOR!!! This is a great seasoning blend that needs to be in every home cooks pantry, maybe in a few restaurants as well. I also tried a bit of this taste bud tantalizing blend on fresh Sea Scallops tonight and once again it was WOW!!!!! You will not be disappointed so BUY IT and USE IT on everything!!!!! Great flavor depth and not as spicy as it sounds.....the degree of  it's spiciness is just right on the palate.

For today's recipe I am digging deep into my personal archives of things I failed but tried again and got it right (see the never say never theme fits)

Tasty Tastings Everyone!!!

Chocolate-Chipotle Brownies

  • vegetable shortening
  • 8 ounces semisweet chocolate chips or chopped semisweet chocolate
  • 1 cup butter
  • 2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup natural unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp. ground Chocolate flavored coffee beans.
    1 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1 to 2 tsp. ground chipotle powder
  • 6 eggs
  • 2 tsp pure vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
Grease 2 round 8-inch cake pans. Set aside.
Combine chocolate and butter in a double boiler or in a bowl placed over a small saucepan of simmering water until melted and smooth.  Cool slightly.
Combine cocoa powder and flour.  Set aside.
In a large bowl, combine sugar, coffee grounds, cinnamon and chipotle powder.  Add melted chocolate.  Beat with an electric mixer or the whisk attachment of a stand mixer on medium speed for 1 minute, scraping bowl occasionally.  Add eggs one at a time, beating on low speed after each egg is added until just combined.  Beat in vanilla until just combined.  Add flour mixture 1/2 cup at a time, beating at low speed until just combined.  Beat on medium speed for an additional minute.
Spread batter evenly into baking pans and bake in preheated oven  for 35 to 40 minutes or until edges start to pull away from the sides of the pan.  Cool in the pan on a wire rack.
Remove from pan and cut into bars or wedges.  Dust with cocoa powder or ice and top with caramelized sweet bacon