Category Archives: The Frying Pan and The Music Man

The Gentleman Caller’s Mardi Gras King Cake

Knock knock knock.

Gentleman Caller.

Hi friends! First of all, please forgive the brief silence here on the site. I have been navigating this change of coasts and it has taken some time and effort. But it seems that things are stabilizing! This coming week brings adventures of re-recording audio for the movie I shot in the fall and other fun stuff.

BUT, for now, let’s talk about the King Cake! Ash Wednesday arrives very early this year (on Valentine’s Day to be specific). So you best be finding your plastic babies!

I make King Cakes every year because, well… they’re freakin hilarious. They have plastic babies in them. They have garish icing, and in the case of the cake I have displayed here, edible glitter. I mean, WHY NOT!?

An added bonus is that my King Cake is dumb delicious. Trust.


  • 2 envelopes active dry yeast
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar (**Vanilla sugar even better if you have)
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 6 tablespoons butter flavor Crisco, melted
  • 1 cup warm milk
  • 5 large egg yolks, room temperature
  • 4 1/2 cups bleached all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg, freshly grated preferred
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
  • 1 teaspoon vegetable oil
  • 1 pound cream cheese, room temperature
  • 5 cups confectioners’ sugar
  • 1 plastic king cake baby
  • 5 tablespoons milk, room temperature
  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice (from a lemon, not a bottle)
  • Icing colors – purple, green, “gold” (yellow)

Warm 1 cup of milk on the stove or the microwave, then stir int he yeast and allow it to bloom. Pour into the bowl of an electric mixer with the dough hook attached and immediately add the 1/2 cup granulated sugar. Give it a stir. Add the melted butter and butter flavor Crisco. Please do not question my choices, you know I love butter flavor Crisco and it really does slightly alter the texture.

Beat that for a couple of minutes, then add the egg yolks. Add flour, salt, nutmeg, cinnamon and lemon zest. Allow to incorporate and form a ball.

Find a bowl about double the size of your dough ball and coat the inside with vegetable oil. Put the dough ball in the bowl and rub the exterior of the dough ball with vegetable oil. Cover with a kitchen towel and put it in a warm place to rise. Let it double in size. This should take a couple of hours.

Make the filling while you wait. In the bowl of an electric mixer blend the cream cheese and 1 cup of confectioners sugar. (I sometimes throw some lemon zest in this as well, and sometimes a whisper of salt.)

Flour a board or countertop. Turn the risen dough onto the surface and spread into an approximately 30 x 6 inch area using only your fingers. Spread the filling over one half, allowing some room at the perimeter to form a seal. ADD THE BABY. Just shove it in the filling somewhere. Fold the other half of the dough over the top of the filled half and pinch the edges together to seal it.

Line a baking sheet with parchment. Carefully form a ring with the dough on the parchment, making sure the seam is at the bottom (as in under the cake). Seal all edges.

Cover it with a kitchen towel and allow to rise again for about an hour.

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.

Brush the risen cake with milk.

Put into the 350 degree oven for 25-30 minutes. Allow it to cool completely.

Now the fun starts!

Seriously, there is right or wrong way to decorate this cake. It’s Mardi Gras. More is more. I like the frosting colors to be very saturated and I want that thing to sparkle.

Make the icing. Using the whisk attachment on your mixer, combine remaining milk (3 tablespoons), lemon juice and remaining 4 cups confectioners sugar. Here’s where you use your judgement… is the icing the consistency you want it to be? If you want a thinner icing, add a bit more liquid. If you want a more robust icing, add more sugar. I like it pretty thick. Once you’ve made your judgement call, transfer into zip-top bags and color it. Or don’t. White is fine, too, especially if you’re using tons of glitter. (It has to be EDIBLE glitter. Glitter from the craft section at Walmart will not work.)

Add food coloring to your zip-top bags and mash/mix until you get the desired effect. Cut a tiny slit into a corner of the bag and pipe onto your cake. As you can see, I used a simple zigzag and then glittered accordingly. Be creative, take risks, have fun with it.

Now your cake is ready to EAT! Be sure and warn friends and family so no one chokes on the baby and ends up in the ER. This cake is divine, especially with a strong cup of coffee.

Happy Mardi Gras!


The Gentleman Caller

Full printable PDF here: The Gentleman Caller’s King Cake








Happy Hanukkah from The Gentleman! Leek Kale and Yellow Potato Latkes

Knock knock knock.
Gentleman Caller.
It’s holiday time, friends, so happy Hanu-Kwanna-Christmas to all!I like to celebrate any and everything, regardless of weather it’s my culture or someone else’s. So today I am offering you a delicious savory latke for Hanukkah. This latke isn’t the straightforward potato pancake that so many people think of when they hear the word “latke” – it’s enhanced by the gentle oniony-ness of leeks and the healthy crunch of kale. Add to that the earthiness of ground coriander and you have a delicious alternative to the traditional latke.

What you need:

  • 2.5 – 3 cups grated yellow potato
  • 2 leeks, the dark green trimmed, cut lengthwise
  • 2 cups of kale, tightly packed*
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon white pepper
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 clove garlic, microplaned
  • ¼ cup cornstarch 
  • 2 eggs
  • About 1/4 cup grape seed oil (or other vegetable oil with high smoke point)
The Gentleman Caller grew this frilly tender kale variety

This is very easy.

In a large bowl combine the grated potatoes, super thinly slices leeks, kale (I chiffonade the kale), baking powder, salt, pepper, coriander, onion powder, grated garlic, cornstarch and eggs. Mix thoroughly.
Preheat your oven to 250 degrees. Ready a sheet pan with a rack on it. This is to keep the latkes warm after the pan fry.
Bring a heavy skillet to high heat. Add a few tablespoons of oil and allow it to get almost smoking hot. 
Using a scoop or tablespoon, drop heaps of the latke mixture onto the hot oil. Smash is flat with a spatula. I found that I could do about four at a time. When one side is crisp and brown (3-4 minutes), flip to the other side and allow it to crisp. Once cooked, remove to the sheet pan with the rack. A whisper more salt on top couldn’t hurt.
As you continue the process, excess liquid will likely accumulate at the bottom of the bowl. Avoid it by squeezing the scoop to the side of the bowl to mash out any excess liquid. Continue the process till you’re out of latke mixture; probably a scant 2 dozen.
Serve them warm with sauce of your choice. I like greek yogurt and horseradish. Trader Joe’s makes a “Green Dragon” sauce that is really an ideal compliment if you can find it.
Leek Kale and Yellow Potato Latke
Happy Hanukkah and happy eating!
Till next time,
The Gentleman Caller
*note about the kale: I grew this very tender variety. Using a frillier or baby variety will be most ideal.






The Gentleman’s Egg Nog Ice Cream – your children will sleep past 6am Christmas morning…

Printable PDF at the bottom of the page!

Knock knock knock.

Gentleman Caller.

When I was a fat little kid down in Texas, I couldn’t get enough eggnog. And even though I was 8 or 9, dad would still spike it a little for me. Probably because he realized it would make me sleep.

Christmas Eve was the most overstimulating day of the entire year. Family, church, singing, Mawmaw time, presents, driving around looking at lights in Hillcrest Village, more church, more singing, cousins, cousins, cousins, eating, more eating, more presents, baby and toddler meltdowns, envelopes of money, TV specials, more eating, and EGGNOG.

We never made eggnog from scratch, nor did we make eggnog ice cream. I didn’t even know making eggnog was a “thing” until I was well into adulthood. So, here I will offer you two versions: version 1 being the overachiever method and version 2 being the “I still have 30 presents to wrap, I am not making homemade eggnog” method, and then the freezing process.


What you need (approximate 1 pint yield):

  • 3 egg yolks
  • 1/3 cup sugar (superfine works best) + an additional tablespoon
  • 2 1/2 cups whole milk
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 tablespoon whiskey or bourbon**
  • 1 tablespoon spiced rum**
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla, or the caviar of 1/4 of a vanilla bean
  • 1 teaspoon fresh grated nutmeg
  • 3 egg whites

**may be doubled or eliminated. 

This is very easy. Using an electric mixer, beat the egg yolks for about 2 minutes. Add the 1/3 cup sugar gradually. Beat until the sugar dissolves. Add milk, cream, booze, nutmeg, and vanilla.

In another bowl with clean beaters, beat the egg whites until they form soft peaks. Gradually add the 1 tablespoon sugar and beat to stiff peaks.

Fold the egg whites into the mixture, chill.**

**Yes, this recipe contains uncooked eggs. Yes, the FDA says eggs should get to 160 degrees for “food safety.” However, you eat steak medium and raw oysters and over easy eggs, don’t you? And most dietitians/nutritionists agree that raw organic eggs are the cleanest, safest form of protein available. So screw the FDA.

If you don’t want to make ice cream, you can serve this as is right now! It’s delicious!


What you need:

  • 1 pint commercially produced eggnog, your favorite variety*
  • 1 tablespoon whiskey or bourbon**
  • 1 tablespoon dark spiced rum**
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla, or the caviar of 1/4 of a vanilla bean
  • 1 teaspoon fresh grated nutmeg

*Not the kind from the liquor store. It won’t freeze. The kind from the dairy case.

**may be doubled or eliminated. 

Mix all the ingredients together and chill to very cold.


I use this with my Kitchenaid Mixer:

I think it’s a great tool. Super easy, no fuss. You use what works for you.

Pour the well-chilled liquid into the SUPER FROZEN bowl of the mixer attachment. Process on slow/stir for about 25 minutes.

Remove the dasher and put the ice cream (should be about soft serve consistency) into a bowl or container, and quickly get it into the freezer.

It will continue to harden. Allow it to sit for a few hours before you serve it so it’s nice and firm.

Shown here with The Gentleman Caller’s Spiced Up Holiday Apple Pie

Do your best not to eat it all before your guests arrive!

That’s all for now, little fatty.


The Gentleman Caller



The Unglamorous But Highly Rewarding Task of Brining a Turkey

Printable PDF at the bottom of the page!

**Hey readers! Thanks for your patience as I am busy starring in the movie TRADE right now and on a crazy schedule wrapping up the final shots. Here’s a seasonally appropriate re-print for the upcoming holiday. Hope you all have a wonderful Thanksgiving! xo-TGC**

Knock knock knock.

Gentleman Caller.

Ah, the controversy surrounding brining a turkey. All the cooking shows wage war on this process every holiday season. Here’s The Gentleman Caller’s 2 cents: DO IT.

One of my dearest, darlingest friends, Laura Jean Snow, and I have cooked so many holiday meals together that lately when we finish all our prep work and preproduction we look at each confoundedly, certain that we have forgotten something crucial. We never have. It’s become such a routine that we can knock it out in the blink of an eye.

Brining the bird is always my duty. I have a penchant for buying the biggest turkey in all 5 boroughs, regardless of the size of the crowd. In general a big bird means a tougher bird, so I started this process years ago. And it works.

It’s a tad unconventional in the materials department, but trust me.

Here’s what you need:


  • one clean, preferably new 5 gallon plastic bucket with lid
  • one gallon of water
  • 1 cup of kosher salt
  • one cup of white sugar
  • handful of pickling spice
  • 2 tbsp allspice berries
  • 2 tbsp black peppercorns
  • the ends from package of celery (see video)**
  • stems from a bunch of parsley**
  • stems from a bunch of sage**
  • sprigs of rosemary**
  • thyme stems**
  • ends of onions**
  • 1 apple, cut into eighths
  • 1 orange, cut into eighths
  • 1 lemon, cut into eighths
  • about 1/2 cup of molasses
  • 2 cups cider vinegar
  • 10-12 calves of garlic, smashed

**you don’t have to use the stems and remnants of these items if you don’t want. I am very cheap; I hate to throw anything away. I use the discards.

In a large pot, bring all the ingredients just to a boil. Turn off the heat, stir till the salt and sugar are dissolved. Let it cool for a sec.

Retrieve your bucket and its lid. In a meticulously clean bathtub, scrub the hell out of the bucket and its lid with dish soap. Inside and out. If you want to use a few drops of bleach to get it extra hospital-y, be my guest. That’s what I do. Dry it with a paper towel or meticulously clean cloth.


Pour the contents of the pot into the bucket. Add about a gallon of ice. You don’t want to immerse the bird in hot liquid.

The bird should be thawed or nearly thawed but quite cold. Place the bird in the bucket feet up.


Give it a little swirl to let some of the ingredients float and allow the salt to permeate the ice that was added. Affix the lid. You’re basically done.

If you live somewhere cold, you may store this bucket outside if the temp is hovering around 34, 35 degrees. Otherwise, check on it occasionally and add more ice to the top. Allow to sit for 18 hours at least.

When it’s time to cook her, rinse the bird and throw the brine away.

Buttering the bird and the breast implants will be coming soon! I’ve got you curious now, don’t I?

Thanks for hanging while I gave you the bird. Recipe.


The Gentleman Caller




Sweet Sticky Cinnamon Rolls with Maple Cream Cheese Icing

Knock knock knock.

Gentleman Caller.

**This gem is a re-run from earlier this year, but as the Autumn air crisps up, I found it appropriate to re-post. I am in Los Angeles shooting a movie so will be doing some re-posts here till I have a second to shoot some new content.**

When I was a kid, we’d make the drive from Alvin to the ranch in Johnson City, TX, in the big grey Buick LeSabre, and we always got there without mom and dad murdering us. This bakery is one of the institutions I credit with allowing me to be alive today to write this article for you.

The Bon Ton Bakery, now known as Weikel’s Bakery ( located on Highway 71 in LaGrange, TX, was a usual stop on our road trip. Yes, that LaGrange, TX. The one with the infamous chicken ranch brothel. We never stopped there.

But we DID often stop to empty our bladder and fill up our belly at the bakery. They particularly specialized in a Texas treat derived from German and Czech traditions called kolaches. That’s another post. But they also had fantastic cinnamon rolls.

Being a little porker, I always appreciated a sweet roll. Even as an adult, it’s a weakness I still possess. Mind you, not any sweet roll will do.

So, I have spent a few years developing this one: the one that cries out to be eaten as soon as it is cooled down enough not to hurt you. With much fanfare I present The Gentleman Caller’s Sweet Sticky Cinnamon Roll with Maple Cream Cheese Icing.

Diametrically opposed fat sources.

What you need:

  • Half recipe of The Gentleman’s Sweet Roll Dough*
  • 1 ½ – 2 cups brown sugar
  • 2/3 cup vanilla bean sugar**
  • 3-4 Tablespoons grated cinnamon
  • ½ cup melted butter
  • Cream Cheese Maple Icing

*A full recipe will make two pans of cinnamon rolls.

**Vanilla bean sugar: in a jar or container, store a few cups of white sugar with a vanilla bean. Measure your 2/3 cup of sugar when ready to use and add vanilla bean caviar to your liking.

“Exquisite dough, and fortunately Jill got me this beautiful dough cutter for Christmas.This is very straightforward, especially if you watched the video.

Roll the dough out to approximately 16″ x 22”.

The Gentleman Caller’s Sweet Sticky Cinnamon Rolls

Smear that barely softened butter on that dough. After that, grate all the cinnamon. Yes, grate it.

Throw brown sugar and vanilla sugar all over it.

This is round one… Keep spreading. Not nearly enough.

Make a thick layer of sugar and spice, then roll that dough lengthwise.  Be careful initially, it’s tender. But the further you get, the easier it is.

It’s time to cut the log into pieces.

These are just risen, and so demure.

Allow to rise again for an hour. Then brush with butter (actual butter).

Bake them for 12 minutes initially. Check them. Do not overcook them. 14 minutes is probably your number, but watch.

I am so careful about instructions sometimes because I know what you’ve done to get to this place. I am never offering you a Pinterest fail.

It’s time to ICE.

The Gentleman Caller’s Maple Cream Cheese Icing

Writers usually don’t tell stories about icing, but I am.

My family members love icing like they love meat, Christmas and possibly their kids.

This sort of loose cream cheese frostings sinks down into a cinnamon roll, but not too deep. I do not enjoy a cinnamon roll with no icing bleed-down into the roll itself.

I recommend that you ice when the rolls are warm, as the video states.

What you need (to ice 1 pan of rolls, double for 2):

  • 1/4 cup butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 tablespoons good maple syrup (If you use Mrs. Butterworth’s and that’s your jam, don’t tell me. Just send me pics.)
  • A whisper (one squeeze) of lemon juice
  • 2 cups confectioners sugar, sifted

In the bowl of a mixer, marry the butter and cream cheese. Beat them until they are well combined and almost fluffy. Add the vanilla, maple syrup, and lemon juice. Make sure the mixture is combined. You’ll likely need to use your rubber spatula and stir it together.

Once that is combined, incrementally add the confectioners sugar, 1/2 cup at a time.

*A hint – I grated a whisper of orange rind into this. My maple syrup wasn’t as robust as I wanted, so I grated some orange rind. Even with a robust maple flavor, you can’t go wrong with this.

Continue to blend that at a high speed until it’s like sinuous pancake batter. Thick.

Once it reaches that consistency, spoon the icing into a ziploc bag. Work it into a corner. Snip the edge of the corner on the diagonal and let the frosting go.

Spew it onto the rolls at your discretion.

Allow to sit briefly, then eat!

Trust me, these are evil. And thank you.


The Gentleman Caller