Category Archives: The Frying Pan and The Music Man

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

 

The Gentleman’s Sour Cream Sugar Cookie – Pillowy Perfection for Decorating

Knock knock knock.

Gentleman Caller.

Does it seem I make a disproportionate amount of sweets? I think it’s my genetic legacy; my Granny never skips dessert. And when we have family gatherings there’s always a “sampler” – multiple choices. It’s a wonder we’re not all obese.

But holidays and occasions, like Wednesdays or laundry day, warrant special treats, and that’s what I am going to deliver.

I am sure you’re familiar with those plastic containers of sweet, sweet pillowy cookies in the bakery at the market. Well, why not take that idea and improve upon it? I am also going to offer you two icing options: one that will set up and harden, and one that will be smoother and creamier. The choice is yours.

The secret here is the sour cream. It established the light textural component that give this cookie its signature bite.

I had a little kitchen helper during my test run. This is my 2 year old nephew, Tyce. Making cookies with family always makes it more fun.

So let’s get going!

What you need:

  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1/2 cup butter flavor Crisco
  • 2 cups white sugar (vanilla sugar would be especially nice*)
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3 tsp vanilla
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 5 1/2 cups flour

Turn your oven on to 375 and allow to preheat. Line cookie sheets with parchment paper and set aside.

In the bowl of your electric mixer, cream butter, Crisco, and sugar. Add the eggs one at a time, then the vanilla. A teaspoon of almond extract would also be nice here if you like that flavor.

Combine dry ingredients in a bowl. Add a cup at a time to the bowl with the mixer on low. Mix ONLY until combined.

Working in batches, roll onto a floured surface, 1/4 to 1/3 inch thickness. Yes, that is on the thick side for a sugar cookie. Just trust me here.

Use your favorite cookie cutter and stamp out shapes. Now, given the consistency of this dough, intricate forms are going to really frustrate you. Stick with basics.

Put the cut dough on the parchment lined sheets, and slide them into the preheated oven.

Watch them like a hawk! You will want to pull them when they are still very pale and NOT browned. I pulled mine at only 6 minutes (using a convection oven) and they were perfect. Really, timing is crucial.

Transfer to a cooling rack and allow to cool completely before frosting.

And now the fun begins!

Royal icing dries hard, which is best for intricate decorating. Here’s how you make that:

What you need:

  • 3 cups 10x powdered sugar
  • 3 egg whites
  • vanilla or almond extract
  • possibly a few drops of water

In a very clean electric mixer bowl, using the whisk attachment, beat the egg whites until they get white-ish. Sift the powdered sugar and add it to the eggs. Add your favorite flavoring component.

Beat until everything is combined. Depending on your needs, determine whether you need a drop or two of water. Remember, you are one frosting these things, so get it to the consistency that you need. Add colors, etc, and use your creativity!

Option #2 is a stiff buttercream that actually tastes better than royal icing, but doesn’t set up super hard.

What you need:

In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine softened butter and sifted powdered sugar. Allow to combine, add flavorings. Eyeball the milk quantity; start with 2 tablespoons. If you want it a little looser add a third.

Frost to your heart’s content!

I hope this brings your taste buds and tummies holiday happiness.

xo,

The Gentleman Caller

Full downloadable PDF here: Sour Cream Sugar Cookie

*vanilla sugar: fill a jar with regular white sugar. Insert a vanilla bean and allow to sit for a few weeks. The sugar will take on the aroma.