Category Archives: The Frying Pan and The Music Man

Sage-Studded Garlic Fennel and Brussels Roast

After a perfect day in Maine, TGC feeds his hungry friends.

Knock knock knock.

Gentleman Caller.

TGC’s first paddle boarding adventure.

As summer flashes by us, I am getting to spend some of its waning moments in beautiful Maine. I am up at Maine State Music Theater presently, and having one of the best summers in recent memory.

Gorgeous people: Aleka Emerson, Matty Rickard (and GUS)!

Firstly, Maine is indescribably spectacular. The weather can be a tad menopausal, but the natural beauty of its lakes, beaches, trees, architecture, and denizens make it absolutely enchanting.

Chelsea Williams, best Sandy ever and all-around beautiful soul.

This last week, my “Sandy” – incomparably cool Chelsea Williams ACTUAL Mainer  – took me and the Dream Team to Thomas Pond in Raymond. An afternoon of intense sunshine, paddle boarding, a pontoon boat ride, a family of loons and a very energetic Boston Terrier conspired to make the perfect day off from the show.

Gus!

How does one top a day like that? With a Gentleman Caller family dinner, of course!

This is one of the dishes I put down in front of my little Maine “family” on our final day off before heading back to the big City. It’s not terribly difficult but will punch you in the face with robust flavors and intense aromas.

What you need:

  • 1 – 1 1/4 pound brussel sprouts
  • 1/2 a white onion
  • 1 large lemon
  • 1 large fennel bulb
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 6-8 cloves garlic
  • 5 or 6 large fresh sage leaves
  • 1-2 tablespoons red chili flake (based on your taste buds)
  • kosher salt
  • fresh black pepper

The Gentleman Caller giving you surfer chic while zesting. PC: Aleka Emerson

Preheat your oven, preferably on convection mode, to 425.

Line a baking sheet with foil. Spray with pan release.

Cut the butt off the brussel sprouts and halve them. Put them in a large mixing bowl.

Cut the fennel fronds off the bulb. halve the bulb lengthwise, then cut into 1/3 inch pieces widthwise. Add to mixing bowl.

Smash the garlic with the side of your knife; chop to the consistency you like. I like bigger pieces.

Rough chop the onion. Chiffonade the sage. Add to bowl.

Zest the lemon, preferably with a zester that allows strips and not a microplane grate. Add to the bowl.

Drizzle everything with olive oil. Sprinkle with red pepper flakes, ample salt (at least a teaspoon, probably more), and pepper. Stir to combine.

Spread evenly on the prepared pan. Place in the preheated oven for about 25 minutes. When the edges start to caramelize, remove from the oven and squeeze the entire lemon over the vegetables and add some additional black pepper. You could also opt to sprinkle with chopped flat leaf parsley.

Printable PDF here: Sage-Studded Garlic Fennel and Brussels Roast

Thanks for joining me on my adventures! You’re gonna love this simple healthy dish!

xo, The Gentleman Caller

 

Hoisin Pecan Dates wrapped in Bacon

Knock knock knock.

Gentleman Caller.

In another round of my Tony Award party, I offered my guests these Hoisin Pecan Dates wrapped in delicious Stanton’s pepper bacon. It’s sort of East meets West, Asia meets Texas.

This is also REALLY easy and can be done ahead.

www.Stantonmeats.com

This particular appetizer truly marries sweet, salty and spicy in a flavor explosion that is hard to rival. And despite the richness of the bacon and pecan, it isn’t a total gut bomb.

Let’s get cooking.

What you need:

  • 1/2 cup of your favorite commercially produced Hoisin sauce
  • 1/2 cup pecan pieces (halves and quarters work best, not chopped pieces)
  • 20 large pitted Medjool dates
  • 10 pieces pepper bacon, halved
  • 20 pieces of kitchen twine, 3-4 inches long

Pre-heat oven (preferably on convection) to 400 degrees.

Find something in your kitchen to loosen up the holes in the dates. It can be a chopstick, a shish-k-bob skewer, anything pointy. Get the dates stretched and loosened up a little.

In a small bowl combine the Hoisin sauce and the pecans.

Carefully using your fingers insert the nuts into the dates. Get them just to the point of splitting open.

Take a half piece of bacon and try to wrap it around the date so that most of the surface area is covered. Then take a piece of twine and tie it around the date to secure the bacon. Super easy.

Put a wire rack on a sheet pan. Line the dates up on the wire rack, allowing room around the perimeter of each one.

Put into the pre-heated oven. Watch them like a hawk. You will need to occasionally re-arrange them for consistent browning. Probably this will take 12-15 minutes. But like I said, watch continuously and take them out when the bacon is crispy on all sides. If you are doing this ahead with the intention of re-heating, pull them out a little prematurely, allow them to cool completely, store in a zip top bag and pop them back in the oven for a few minutes just before serving.

These little bites are irresistible, trust me.

Enjoy! That’s all for now.

xo, The Gentleman Caller

Printable PDF here:  The Gentleman Caller’s Hoisin Pecan Stuffed Dates Wrapped in Pepper Bacon

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The Gentleman Caller’s Asahi Poached Shrimp – Dear Evan Crustacean

Knock knock knock.

Gentleman Caller.

The Gentleman Caller threw a Tony Awards party, and if you haven’t seen the video yet, it was eh-pic. EPIC.

Hosted at my friend George’s beautiful Houston home, a small and friendly gaggle got together to drink, eat, vote for our favorites and root for friends and acquaintances.

This is one of the many offerings from that evening. It’s a basic twist on a shrimp cocktail. But you know good and well that The Gentleman Caller can’t leave well enough alone with a classic. This spin is Asian-inspired, flavor forward, and will wow your friends.

What you need:

  • 21.4 ounces Dry Asahi beer
  • 2 cups water
  • 3 cloves garlic, smashed
  • 1 tbsp kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon whole peppercorns
  • lemon peel from one large lemon, removed with vegetable peeler
  • the juice from the peeled lemon
  • 2 lbs 16/24 rock shrimp or whatever your favorite is, peeled and de-viened (yes, I usually poach shrimp peel-on. Not today.)

In a saucepan, combine all ingredients except shrimp. Bring to a gentle boil. It shouldn’t roll. Just bubbles.

Add the shrimp. Poach for EXACTLY 3 minutes. Remove swiftly with a spider into a bowl of ice. Allow to cool.

Transfer into a zip-top bag until you are ready to plate with some paper towels. Keep them dry.

In contrast to ketchup-y generic cocktail sauce, we are going to go with a wasabi aeoli.

What you need:

  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 6 cloves of garlic
  • 4 tablespoons prepared wasabi (should be very thick paste)
  • zest of 1/2 a lemon (Meyer if available)
  • 1 tsp honey
  • 1 teaspoon chives
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 2 cups Kewpie mayonnaise, or whatever is your favorite (try to find Kewpie)

Combine all ingredients in a food processor. Let ‘er rip till smooth. It will be a lovely shade of light green.

Plate creatively to show off the beautiful little crustaceans and your gorgeous sauce. Enjoy!

Printable PDF here: Asahi Poached Shrimp

Be sure and see the other insanely delicious appetizers and small bites from my 2017 Tony Award night!

This The Gentleman Caller signing out.

Dear Evan Crustacean on Pinterest

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The Gentleman Caller’s Butterscotch Oatmeal Scotchie

Knock knock knock.

Gentleman Caller.

Hey, it’s me, the Cookie Monster. I’m back to make yet another cookie. Quel surprise.

This one is a butter and vanilla explosion, holding together mounds of butterscotch chips and raisins soaked in booze. Add a whisper of cinnamon and what could possibly be better.

My favorite way to eat these is with ice cream, perhaps as a sandwich. Yum.

What you need:

  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1/4 cup butter flavor Crisco
  • 1/2 cup white vanilla sugar*
  • 1/2 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 egg + 1 egg yolk
  • 1 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 cup old fashioned oats
  • 1/2 tsp freshly grated cinnamon
  • 1/3 cup golden raisins, soaked in brandy**
  • 3/4 cup butterscotch chips

*vanilla sugar: put a vanilla bean or just the spent carcass of a vanilla bean into a pint jar full of white sugar. Allow to sit and let the sugar take on the magical vanilla flavor. Note: Tahitian is stronger than Madagascar.

**I soaked my raisins in 1/3 cup ginger flavored brandy. Perfection. Discard any liquid the raisins don’t soak up. Or see glaze recipe at the bottom.

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.

Put the brandy and raisins in a jar or bowl, microwave for a minute. Allow to sit and let the raisins plump.

In the bowl of a mixer, cream the first 4 ingredients. Add vanilla and eggs.

In another bowl combine the dry ingredients. Add them to the creamed items until just combined.

Stir your plumped raisins and butterscotch chips into the mixture.

Scoop in 1/4 cups onto parchment paper, mash with a damp hand to flatten to 1/2 inch thickness. Place in pre-heated oven. Watch like a hawk. I do not know why, but these cook really fast. Like 7 1/2 minutes. So just check them regularly. My oven in NYC is kind of fakakta and though I test everything exactly, sometimes it outsmarts ol Austin.

Allow to cool. Chomp em down!

I hope you enjoy these; they’re kind of decadent. Of you wanted to take them one step further, combine a little maple syrup to the brandy you drained from the raisins. Add sifted powdered sugar until a glaze forms. Drizzle the glaze over top. Wait for the cavity cops to come.

Download the PDF here: The Gentleman Caller’s Oatmeal Scotchie

That’s all for now, kiddos.

xoxo,

The Gentleman Caller

 

Johnson City Tortilla Pie

Knock knock knock.

Gentleman Caller.

Imagine, if you will, that you are 11. That you are seat belted into a giant Buick LeSabre, next to your sisters. Imagine the Judds coming through the car speakers, and singing along in harmony with most of the people in the car. Imagine one of your sisters gets car sick. A lot. Imagine mom giving Dramamine to all of us, because there’s one kid who likes to get sick, but that shit will knock the other two of you out for awhile. Imagine your sleepy little feet landing in a pyrex casserole dish full of a beautifully executed King Ranch Chicken casserole in the floorboard. Welcome to my childhood.

The King Ranch is a big place in Texas. There is a casserole named after it. Enough about that.

MY family ranch, The Stanton Ranch, is in Johnson City, Texas. While nothing to sneeze at, in terms of acreage and acclaim it is no King Ranch. But that didn’t even enter our minds while we traversed its creeks and rivers in our inner tubes, fished, made the most of its ample venison and generally enjoyed being around our relatives.

And we all knew how to eat. Mom, Aunt Marcie and Granny would generally do a casserole or two ahead of time for ease and convenience while we were all up at the ranch, much preferring to spend time in the creek or playing cards than sweating over the stove.

For issues of freezability and portability, the casserole is a solid meal. In this version, I have taken the classic King Ranch Chicken casserole and made it palatable. Reduced are the cans of condensed soup, and more complex flavors take their place.

What you need:

  • 1 lb uncooked white meat chicken, cubed
  • 1/2 cup + 1/4 cup white wine
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • 1 tsp Mexican oregano + 1 tsp Mexican oregano (I use Bolner’s Fiesta Spices for this, it’s really the best)
  • 1 tbsp cumin + 2 tsp cumin
  • 1 tbsp chili powder
  • 1 tbsp lard (or olive oil or butter)
  • 1 large white onion, chopped
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp white pepper
  • 4 oz button mushrooms, sliced
  • 2 tbsp masa harina or flour
  • 1 can Rotel tomatoes
  • 1 10.5 ounce can Cream of Mushroom condensed soup
  • 4 tsp chopped pickled jalapeños (optional)
  • 16 corn tortillas
  • 4 oz shredded cheddar cheese
  • 4 oz shredded monterey jack cheese

In a saucepan, combine 2 cups chicken stock, 1/2 cup white wine, 1 tsp Mexican oregano, 1 tbsp cumin, 1 tbsp chili powder and 1 pound of chicken. Bring to a gentle simmer and allow to stew for about a half hour. Remove from heat, allow to cool on its own.

Preheat oven to 375.

Melt 1 tbsp lard in a large saute pan. Add the chopped onion, sweat. Add the garlic and sliced mushrooms. Add 1 tsp Mexican oregano, 2 tsp cumin, 1 1/2 tsp salt, and 1 tsp white pepper.

Scatter 2 tbsp masa over the entire mixture. Stir and allow the raw flavor to be cooked off.

Shred the cooked chicken into the mixture and stir. Add the cooking liquid from the chicken plus an additional 1/4 cup white wine. Stir to bring the masa and liquids together.

Add the condensed soup and Rotel tomatoes. Add the chopped jalapeños (optional).

Spray a rectangular 9×13 casserole dish with cooking spray. Cut 10 of the tortillas in half. Line the bottom of the casserole dish using the straight edges of the halved ones to make the perimeter, then covering the middle with two whole tortillas. Spread 1/3 of the chicken mixture over the tortillas. Repeat this process 3 times, so that there are three layers of tortilla alternating with 3 layers of chicken mixture.

Cover the top with the grated cheese.

Bake for about 30 minutes, until cheese is bubbly.

Full downloadable PDF here: Johnson City Tortilla Pie

This is a dream in the freezer. Cover tightly and shove her in for a rainy day.

Also, I slathered mine with The Gentleman Caller’s All-Purpose Chili Sauce #1 http://thegentlemancaller.net/the-gentleman-callers-all-purpose-chili-sauce-1/ and then topped with a sprig of micro cilantro that I sprouted earlier.

You are going to love this one, kiddos.

Keep coming back; I’ll keep giving you more.

xo-TGC