Ladies retreat chef play-by-play

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I want to start by start by saying how blessed I am to have been invited back to cook for 12 wonderful ladies during their annual lady’s retreat. The hostess defiantly has the most-est when it comes to planning the perfect weekend for these deserving lucky ladies to relax and unwind from the prior year’s ups and downs. From gifts to karaoke, poems making the ladies feel special to on demand food for b-fast lunch and din din with wine pairings. She even schedules a masseuse, named donna that lives out in Destin Florida, to come and give massages in a room with a view! My client really knows how to show her gratitude. I’m taking notes.

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I have been the ladies’ chef for, now, 4 years running! How cool is that!? Want to know something cooler!?

I started with them when I was living in Atlanta between 2013-2016 through a recommendation of a mutual friend.

#littleknownchefcidfact

While living in Atlanta, I played for an all-girls flag football league, and had a blast doing it, but in May 2016, I tore my Achilles tendon having that same blasty blast I was just talking about. Having torn a very important walking element, I had surgery and had to move back to San Antonio Texas, which is where I grew up, and my father still lives. So even though I up and had to leave Atlanta, the hostess of the ladies retreat still wanted my food service experience, so she booked my flight to do just that. And for that…. I am extremely humbled and grateful for the confidence she has in my art!

Now about la comida (the food)

This year we had some returning dishes, including my infamous cajun shrimp and cheddar grits with andouille sausage, peppers and onions.

In my version, I adapt the cheddar grits and make them into cakes. If you want to compare, then it’s like polenta cakes. But that’s only because they are one in the same. Polenta is Italian grits and the grits most people I know are southern American.

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This trip I made it a point to showcase my RubOn! Spice Blends and use them in different ways, in as many dishes as possible. Because I use that ish on EVERYTHING! Another huge hit was the crab boil.

Put those bad boys in a pot of super flavorful liquid with quartered onions, whole garlic cloves, lemon halves, andouille sausage, and corn. I then threw some crab legs, shrimp and mussels in at the last 10 minutes. And when they were done I tossed them in my RubOn! Cajun Spice and RubOn! Garlic Salt . with some drawn butter, with, you guessed it, my RubOn! Cajun Spice, for those that love dippin things. I also roasted the baby potatoes separately in a 400-degree oven, with my RubOn! Salt Free Cajun Spice as well as my RubOn! Garlic Herb Salt, and olive oil. Doing my potatoes this way gives one more texture and level of flavor.

However! Out of all the food I made over the weekend I would have to say the most talked about dish was, hands down, my un-fried chicken and homemade sweet potato waffles.

I used a basic Belgian waffle recipe I got from www.thekitchenwhisperer.net

I also added 1 mashed sweet potato

1 cup flour

¼ cup cornstarch

½ tsp baking powder

½ tsp baking soda

½ tsp salt

1 cup buttermilk (I used ½ cup buttermilk+ heavy cream… had to improvise)

1 egg, room temp, separated

½ cup sugar

1 ½ tsp vanilla

Mix all dry ingredients

Beat egg whites until stiff peak, set aside

Mix wet ingredients

Make a well in the middle of the dry ingredients, add the wet in the middle, blend with whisk

Fold in egg whites, do not whisk

Let rest 30 minutes before putting in waffle maker.

Un-fried chicken tenders

1 pack chicken tenders, seasoned with RubOn! Garlic Herb Salt , with ligament removed (I hate those things)

Breading station

1 box crushed corn flakes, seasoned with RubOn! Garlic Herb Salt and RubOn! Salt Free Cajun Spice

1 cup buttermilk

1 cup flour

Bread the chicken in order

-flour

-buttermilk

-corn flakes

Bake in oven 400-450 for 20 mins, or until chicken is cooked thoroughly

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“taste” the SOUL-rolls

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If you are thinking I am about to give you my infamous soul roll recipe that I served at the Taste of New Orleans this year. Then you might be correct if you get to the end of this blog and see it there. If not, then… I guess I tricked ya!

Keep reading to find out!

So first of all…. No.. I did not do this event in New Orleans. It been held the last 32 years, during fiesta, at Sunken Gardens in downtown San Antonio by the Zoo, if that’s helps. Same place as the Japanese Tea Garden. Thousands of people come to this event to get their fix of some of New Orleans style best alligator on a stick, spicy gumbo, huge blooming onions, and crawfish (yes…with the head still on), among tons more items people stand in enormous lines for. I might’ve had a line or two for my first appearance.

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Anyhow…

 

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I had the privilege of having my very own booth at this festival! How friggin cool, right!? Well. It was some work, I tell ya! The few people I did have to lend a hand busted their tails too. And what a genius idea of mine to have a tedious menu item that would be a hit if executed correctly. Which, once they caught on, was the hit of the show!

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I made an EGGROLL stuffed with homemade mac and cheese with not one… not 2……but 3 cheeses, Cajun chicken featuring my RubOn! Salt free Cajun spice and bacon! I then smothered the, fried to golden perfection eggroll, with more mac sauce and garnished it with green onions and a sprinkle more of my RubOn! Salt free Cajun spice. I had more than one person tell me “Girl you are out of line for this one!”

I was humbled, once again.

Despite all the mishaps of unpreparedness, lack of funds, and lack of prior knowledge of the event my team and myself pulled it off. 3 days of frequenting bulk warehouse, restaurant depot, running through HEB, like I was back on Guys Grocery Games racing through the aisles.

This experience taught me loads, and you’d better believe I’m coming strong with the biggest hit of next year’s festival!

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Those ROLLS FOR YA SOUL!

Now that you have stuck through this blog or even just scrolled on down to the bottom where you may or may not find the recipe…….and by recipe I mean a list of ingredients I used and good luck figuring out the amounts. Mas o menos. More or less. I want to teach yall through my blogs and videos, confidence in the kitchen to make anything, and not rely so much on a recipe. I will give you some tips on substituting, or even going without something. There will be times where I don’t have an ingredient or am just putting something together for development and when I translate it on here I want you to see and understand what I did and how I came up with the end product.

I will now give you the recipe.

It all started with a roux.

Equal parts clarified butter and flour

Clarified butter is just butter with the milk solids or, white bubbly stuff you get when you heat the butter up, removed to give you a clean form of butter.

    I make a big batch of roux at a time and save it for any occasion where I might need a sauce or soup thickened.

About ½ cup roux**

Onion, small chopped

Garlic, small chopped

About 2-3 cups Milk or cream**

3 cheeses of choice, medium dice, reserve ¼ ***

RubOn! Garlic herb salt

Mac noodles, cooked

Grilled chicken thighs, seasoned with RubOn! Cajun Spice

Bacon, oven baked, small diced

Eggroll wrappers

Egg wash

Flour

Frying oil

**if your cheese sauce is too thin, use more roux. If it is too thick, use more milk

***if you have ever noticed the grittiness of some cheese sauce. Take sauce off the heating element as you’ve added the cheese or lower heat. Use better quality melty cheeses for best melt.

In pot melt roux, add onions and garlic until translucent. Add milk, simmer until hot. Add ¾ of diced cheese and turn heat down to low until all cheese is melted. Add seasoning and adjust.

Mix noodles, sauce together saving a little to the side. Add grilled chicken and bacon. When mac has cooled some, add the ¼ diced cheese you have set aside now.

Assembly

Wrapper with egg wash around 2 edges

Put a mound of mac mixture in center of the wrap

Use the typical fold over, tuck, tuck, roll method as eggrolls are, making sure there are no holes

Dip eggroll in flour to prevent sticking and add a little crunch

Serve with a little extra cheese sauce and chopped green onions for garnish

Brined fried chicken and boozy tomato gravy

Random night at home I unthawed some bone in chicken thighs and decided to brine them!

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Brining one means you are prepping your meal because this is not something that can be done in the fly.
Brining is essentially marinating something in a flavored salt sugar solution to break down and penetrate through the meat making it tender and full of flavor.

I used about 1 gallon
Sugar
Sea salt
Himalayan
Homemade Worcestershire
Whole garlic

Sit over night with chicken

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Pat dry
Dip in 1/2 cornstarch 1/2 flour
Mixed with RubOn! Garlic Herb Salt

Fryer set to 350-375
About 20-30
After done frying place in dry rack or paper towel
Sprinkle with RubOn! Salt free cajun spice

But this boozy tomato gravy was tge truth!!

AY YI YAAAHHHH!

In honor of cinco de mayo thw boozy part is dos xx! Any chance I can throw alcohol in a dish I do! So here goes.

Premade roux from previous recipe
Dos xx goes in now.

Next, Juiced tomato with garlic
-I just threw tomatoes and garlic in a processor to juice it. I then strained it right into the pot with the roux, brew,and tomats. Add some milk until I got to the consistency of gravy.

Seasoned the hell out of it with my RubOn! Garlic herb salt and fresh cracked pepper in the form of normal ground pepper since I didn’t have a pepper grinder. Still super delicious!

I then chopped some fresh tomatoes and put them into the finished gravy and drizzled the goodness over my brined ‘n fried chicken and homemade jalapeno cheddar biscuits. I used the Paula Deen recipe and added deseeded, tiny diced jalapeno, when it came out the oven, I rubbed some butter and sprinkled some cheese. The combo of this meal was amazeballs!

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Definite must try!20170505083657_IMG_5634