Tag Archives: holiday

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 http://thegentlemancaller.net/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 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.


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.

TAMALE TAMALE TAMALE! The Gentleman’s Holiday Tamale-day

Printable PDF at the bottom of the page!

Knock knock knock.

Gentleman Caller.

I used to live much further uptown than I presently do. I didn’t much care for it. If I can avoid the perils of humanity that one encounters on the New York City subway, I certainly do.

But there used to be (probably still is) a little Columbian or Dominican or Guatemalan or Salvadoran (you get the gist) lady at the subway exit. She had an igloo ice chest with her and she would yell, “TAMALE TAMALE TAMALE!” And people bought tamales.

In many Latin American cultures, making tamales at Christmastime is a beloved tradition. I love tamales. When I was a kid, after we’d slaughter a cow, we’d take the head to this old Mexican lady, and she would make us batches and batches of delicious, greasy tamales.

The Gentleman Caller is not in the practice of stewing cow heads. Not that I wouldn’t, it’s just not super accessible to me presently. However, we are definitely going to make some tamales.

In this recipe, I am repurposing leftover holiday turkey! Hooray, a very well cloaked use for holiday turkey. I also brought the fat content waaaay down. I am (unapologetically) using lard. You can use shortening. But lard is more traditional, and you aren’t using that much.

So don your sombrero and let’s cook.

What you need:

  • 1/2 pound spicy chorizo, uncased
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 large white onion, diced
  • 10 cloves roasted garlic*
  • 2 teaspoons smoked paprika
  • 4 teaspoons fajita seasoning
  • 3 teaspoons chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon garlic flakes
  • 2 teaspoons onion flakes
  • 1 can Rotel diced tomatoes and green chilis
  • 1 1/2 pounds leftover turkey, white, dark or both**
  • 3/4 cup lard or shortening
  • 4 cups masa harina
  • 1 cup cornmeal
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon white pepper
  • 1 quart plus 1/2 cup (approximate) chicken or vegetable stock, preferably homemade
  • 30 dried corn husks

*Toss garlic cloves with oil. Put them in a foil pouch in the oven at 250 for an hour or so. 

**You may substitute rotisserie chicken or any other leftover poultry. 

Put your corn husks in a large bowl with warm water covering them. Allow to sit at least an hour.

In a dutch oven, bring olive oil to near smoking. Add chorizo and onion, stirring and breaking up the chorizo. Add the roasted garlic and get it smashed into the mixture. When the sausage is cooked, add paprika, fajita seasoning, chili powder, garlic flakes and onion flakes. Let the spices open up on the heat. This is probably starting to stick a little, so throw in the Rotel. The liquid will deglaze a bit. Add the 1/2 cup stock. Add the leftover turkey. Turn the heat to low. Allow to cook on low till the meat is shred-able. Allow it to cool.

In the bowl of your electric mixer, beat the lard at high speed until it’s creamy and whippy (yes, I just invented that word). Stir masa, cornmeal, salt, baking powder, and white pepper together in another bowl. Add to the lard one cup at a time. After the third cup of dry ingredients, you may start incorporating the stock as well. Alternate dry mixture and stock. Mix just until everything is smooth.

Set up your work station.

Take a couple of corn husks and tear them into 1/3 inch strips. These are your ties. You may also use cooking twine.

Assemble your bowls in an order that makes sense to assemble these suckers. Leave the husks in water; you’ll need to continue to wet your hands as you mash the masa.

Lay a corn husk down on the work surface. Take approximately 1/3 cup masa mixture and mash it into a rectangle. Please refer to the video; it is helpful. Add about 1 1/2 tablespoons filling to the center of the masa. Roll the two edges together, smoosh from the bottom up like a tube of toothpaste, and tie a simple knot across the middle with your corn husk ties.

Repeat. And repeat.

Find a tall pot. Put a steamer basket in the bottom. Line the bottom with corn husks. Put enough water in the bottom to just reach the husks.

Stand the tamales upright in the pot. Leaning them into the sides of the pot helps. Put a lid on the top. Crank up the gas so the water simmers.

About every 15 minutes, check the water level. You will need to add water.

Steam for about an hour. You’ll be able to see when the dough is done. An hour, an hour and fifteen should do it.

Allow them to cool in the pot.

You can eat these plain as they are right now, or you can top them. I am going to make a chili sauce for topping. Here’s the link: http://thegentlemancaller.net/the-gentleman-callers-all-purpose-chili-sauce-1/

These freeze really well. Just leave them in the husk, wrap with foil and place in a zip top bag in the freezer. To reheat, allow to thaw, cover with a clean, wet kitchen towel and microwave.

Holy frijoles, these are deliciouso. Olé for now.

xo – The Gentleman Caller