Friday, December 30, 2011

Watermelon Jello Shots

We had a party recently and were looking for something different to bring to the table. Amanda suggested Jell-O shots and I remembered reading an article about various Jell-O shot ideas. While I couldn't find the exact article I did find a nice watermelon shooter on That's So Michelle. Amanda picked a couple Margarita versions too.

We went looking for Watermelon Jell-O but apparently it is not the best seller as none of the stores we checked had any in stock. We chose a cherry instead as the color was about right.

10 Limes
1 6oz box Cherry Jell-O
1 cup boiling water
1 cup Booze (I used silver tequila as it was out for the margarita Jell-O shots as well)

Cut limes in half lengthwise.

Using a paring knife seperate the flesh of the lime from the skin down to a 1/4" or so.

Slide your finger in at one of the ends and "peel" the flesh out of the skin creating a cup. Do this over a bowl to save any juice. Save the flesh in the same bowl for later.

Mix boiling water with gelatin mix until dissolved. Add booze and mix.

Fill lime cups to rim and place in fridge for a couple hours to set up. After they are firm cut each half lime in half again to create watermelon wedge effect.

Squish lime juice from flesh and use for margarita Jell-O shots or to make a Lime-Aid for your house margaritas.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Savory Cranberry Brioche Bread Pudding

Makes one 9 by 13-inch bread pudding

1 cup dried cranberries

1/2 cup toasted pecans
Juice and zest of 1 orange

1/4 cup brandy, divided

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 cup sliced shallots

1 loaf brioche, cut into 1-inch cubes

1 apple, peeled, cored, and chopped

1 stick unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
2 cups cream
4 eggs

1/4 cup chicken stock
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander

Soak the cranberries in the orange juice and 3 tablespoons of the brandy for 30 minutes.
Heat the olive oil in a large frying pan. Add the shallots and sauté until translucent, 5 to 7 minutes. Set aside to cool.

Preheat oven to 350ºF.

Drain the cranberries and combine with the pecans, bread pieces, apples, butter, and sautéed shallots in a large bowl. In another bowl, combine the cream, eggs, chicken stock, cinnamon, coriander, orange zest, and remaining tablespoon of brandy. Whisk until well incorporated and pour the mixture over the bread and fruit, mixing until well coated. Refrigerate for an hour.

Transfer the entire mixture to a buttered 9 by 13-inch baking dish. Cover with foil and bake in the oven for an hour. Remove the foil and bake for an additional 30 minutes, until golden brown. Remove from the oven and cool for at least an hour before serving.

Monday, September 26, 2011


News Release
New company name and brand identity reflect broader vision and growth strategy

ROSEMONT, Ill., Sept 26, 2011
U.S. Foodservice today unveiled its new corporate name, US Foods, and brand identity reflecting its strategic focus on creating a better food offering and an easier service experience for customers.

“Our new name and brand image are a reflection of the many customer-focused improvements now underway at US Foods,” said John Lederer, president and CEO, US Foods. “We traveled the country and listened carefully to what our employees and customers had to say about how we can improve: provide better, more relevant and innovative food choices and make it easier for our customers to do business with us. We believe this is a recipe for mutual success.”

Based on extensive research, the new identity and underlying strategy mark the beginning of US Foods’ strategic transformation into a more creative and innovative food company dedicated to making things easier for customers.

In addition to changing its name to US Foods—which research showed is how most customers and employees already refer to the company—a new logo and tagline will begin appearing on trucks, products and in other areas. With vibrant orange and green food colors and a bold, simple design, the new image expresses confidence and a fresh outlook.

“We wanted to let everyone know we’re on an exciting path,” Lederer said. “The new image will remind us of our focus every day, and our new tag line, ‘Keeping Kitchens Cooking,’ will keep our customers front and center.”

Lederer, who joined US Foods in August 2010, inherited a strong leadership team of industry veterans and has added deep specialist expertise in strategic areas such as product innovation, merchandising, supply chain and information technology.

Building on a strong foundation as one of America’s leading foodservice distribution companies, the new vision is inspired in part by the rich history of the many companies that came together to form US Foods.

Beginning with the immediate launch of a line of new and innovative products exclusive to US Foods, the company is working to provide customers with better products, more intuitive tools and technologies, and thoughtful service solutions and information—all underscored by this forward-looking image transformation.

US Foods operates 64 test kitchens across the country, including a state-of-the-art Culinary Innovation Center in Rosemont, Ill. It’s here that US Foods chefs help customers stay abreast of culinary trends, increase sales and manage costs. In addition, a team of US Foods chefs and product developers regularly travel the world in search of new flavors and ideas to bring home to customers. As a result, US Foods has introduced more than 800 new products in 2011, and in October will launch two new brands including Chef’s Line, a new line of chef-inspired, time-saving foods that demonstrate the company’s innovative approach to product development.

“US Foods is committed to creating better, more innovative products that leverage our food expertise and market position, and to making the customer service experience easier every step of the way,” Lederer said. “Our new brand supports and advances both of these goals.”

About US Foods

With nearly $19 billion in annual revenue, US Foods is the 10th largest private company in America, and a leading foodservice distributor. Many of the entities that make up US Foods were founded in the 19th century, including one that sold provisions to travelers heading west during the 1850s gold rush. The company had used the name U.S. Foodservice since 1993. US Foods offers more than 350,000 national brand products and its own high-quality “exclusive brand” items, ranging from fresh meats and produce to prepared and frozen foods. The company proudly employs approximately 25,000 people in more than 60 locations nationwide, and provides the finest quality food and related products to more than 250,000 customers, including independent and multi-unit restaurants, healthcare and hospitality entities, government and educational institutions. The company is headquartered in Rosemont, Ill., and jointly owned by funds managed by Clayton, Dubilier & Rice Inc. and Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co. Discover more at

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Hillside Dining Nightmare

I had the strangest dream last night.

We were a group of about ten sat for an early dinner at this new restaurant on a hillside. The buzz about this place was fantastic. It was fine dining in a challenging environment; literally the dining room was tilted at an uncomfortable angle.

The linens were heavyweight in order to keep them from sliding during service. The green selected for the green tablecloth and cloth napkins must have been selected to "blend" with the grassy knoll we were perched upon at a precarious angle. The tabletop ease laden with glasses, both water and wine and probably a few cocktails knowing my friends, heavyweight cutlery stood at the ready. An unfamiliar piece on the table on the high side (altitude-wise) was a small clamp, which the server explained was there because "some people" (said with a little distain) "liked the added security of a clamp on the tablecloth to prevent the ever so slight sliding that occurs during the course of the meal". We as a group certainly weren't going to let our desire for "security" drive us to clamp our cloth and risk missing the entirety of the experience our restaurateur had intended.

As the chargers were lifted the servers brought out the first of the Amuse Bouche. This house made rabbit sausage arrived on a heavy white square plate. It was a simple presentation the stark white plate became a glistening backdrop for this rich and savory bite. Yet there was a touch of sweetness from diced honey crisp apples in the sausage. The "pinky finger" of sausage, as someone at the table had called it was slightly elevated on the plate by a rosemary focaccia crisp and there was three peas size dollops of house ground (no doubt) grain mustard. As the plates were all set down the tablecloth shifted south a bit, but without much thought we on the upside simply grabbed the cloth and nonchalantly pulled it back.

Next there came a wild boar pate served with a cassis sauce and dotted with chopped pistachios. This time the silverware clangs and glasses knock as two people slam their hands down on the table -averting disaster as the entire table top made a run down south. Slightly awkward laughter followed as someone joked aloud, while seriously considering the clamp at his place setting.

Disaster finally struck somewhere between an egg dish and a soup/salad course. All salads were plated and served while a teapot size tureen of hot wild mushroom soup was set next to our soup bowls. The soup was oxtail served under a parmesan crisp with wild mushroom soup. The hot bowls contained the boneless shredded oxtail. A dome shaped crisp covered the meat and at the exact right time the server poured each individuals soup around and over the ingredients in the bowl. The earthy aromas swirled in the air...and then-in an instant so did the entire tabletop.

Wine, water, soup, china, glass, and silver all crashed down on the guests seated on the downhill side. No one was spared however as crisp white shirts, ties, and sport coats were splatter with wild mushroom soup, butter pats, and or, various wines.

The staff sprung in to action. Sweeping, mopping, and appeasing guests. A manager stood with one arm crossed the other hand was slightly over his mouth to muffle the conversation he was having with the server trying to figure out what had gone wrong. The obviously very seasoned professional server was making alternating gestures that clearly exonerated him from any liability, then pointed at certain guests and made mock chugging motions as if some at our table had been drinking Krug like we were shooting Irish car bombs at two for one night.

The blame being assessed fully on our table for this mess, we were condescendingly assured that a new "safer" table was being prepared. We were all in various states of undress at this point. Some men still donned slacks and under shirts, while some of the ladies had been given sweats to wear. We stood awkwardly in the dining room as service continued for the rest of the guests. As a group of servers came out with a course for another table we leaned, and scooted, bumping other guests in order to avoid interrupting the staff.

After several minutes we elected a leader to address the manager about our table. We watched as those folks who arrived at the same time as us leapt ahead of us in courses at their table. The problem, it seemed, was that we were such a large group that we would have to wait for several smaller groups to finish eating before enough tables in a "safe" part of the dining room could be prepared. At various times we were scooted to the host station, a hallway that led to dry storage and the employee restroom, and into the garde manger kitchen.

Tempers began to flare and the Chef became involved. How was his staff supposed to "circle back" and pick up from the wild mushroom soup course so late in service? Our group hadn't even been reseated and dessert was being served all around us.

I had been dressed down to a t-shirt and slacks earlier but now I was in pajama pants and a polo style shirt that had wide horizontal color stripes and a collar that stuck up like wings. Only the left wing was folded down while the right reached for the sky. I think I lifted this from the employee locker room.

After two or three attempts we were finally sent home. We were turned away from the pizza joint down the street as they had dress code standards and we all departed and went our separate ways.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Around Independence Day 2011

Two weeks back from a two week sailing vacation and I'm already ready for another get away. These breaks from the day to day monotony really help to refocus the mind. It is good for man to take time to sharpen the saw rather than always trying to chop down the trees as they say. However there isn't time in the schedual or money in the budget to take more time off right now, but thank goodness for a three day weekend! Amanda, my wing girl and I are heading off to the A's v Diamond Backs tonight, tomorrow we are bbq'ing and are attending a bbq on the 4th. I'm thinking Mai Tai's are just what the doctor ordered to harken us back to trips to exotic locations overseas.

With Mai Tai's and exotic locations in mind, everyone knows the Mai Tai was

The original Mai Tai recipe, according to the Ocean County Register-and they should know, created in 1944 by "Trader Vic" Bergeron at his original bar, then called Hinky Dinks, in Oakland:


For cocktail:
2 ounces 17-year-old J. Wray Nephew Jamaican rum
1/2 ounce French Garnier Orgeat
1/2 ounce Holland DeKuyper Orange Curacao
1/4 ounce rock candy syrup
Juice from 1 fresh lime

For garnish:
Half a lime
Sprig of mint


1. Combine all ingredients (but garnish) in cocktail shaker. Shake well, pour into glass.

2. Garnish with half of lime shell inside the drink and float a sprig of fresh mint at the edge of the glass.