Tag Archives: sides

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

 

Texas Meets Egypt – The Gentleman’s Black-eyed-pea Hummus

Knock knock knock.

Gentleman Caller.

I really love a good dip. The bad news is most dips are nasty for you. Mayonnaise-laden, cheesy, greasy, bacon-y. Now that I have you salivating, I’m going to offer this healthy alternative with a twist.

I was experimenting and wondered how black eyed peas would work as a chick pea replacement in hummus. I eat so much hummus. And commercial hummus is shockingly expensive given that it’s basically ground up beans.

So here is my budget-friendly, waist line-friendly, time-friendly black eyed pea hummus with zesty jalapeños.

What you need:

  • 15 oz can No Salt Added black eyed peas
  • one large carrot, or 2 small carrots
  • 8 cloves of garlic
  • 1/3 cup tahini
  • 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil, divided
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons jalapeño salt*
  • juice of one lemon
  • 1 tbsp cumin
  • 2-4 tbsp chopped pickled jalapeños

*If you don’t like spicy things, use regular salt. Fiesta makes GREAT jalapeño salt. www.fiestaspices.com

Here we go; this is so easy you won’t believe it.

Rough chop the carrot, removing the ends. You don’t even have to peel it, just make sure it is clean. Combine the carrot and the garlic cloves. Stir with 1 tablespoon olive oil. Roast in a 350 degree oven, covered, for about an hour.

In a non-stick sauce pan, stir the cumin on high heat for 1-2 minutes. Cumin burns; don’t burn it. This is going to open up the flavors. You can skip this step if you want.

Place all ingredients except remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse until it’s coarsely mixed. Then stop pulsing, turn the processor ON and slowly pour the remaining oil in through the feed tube. Allow to process until it’s perfectly smooth.

Stir 2 tablespoons chopped pickled jalapeños into the smooth hummus. (I actually prefer 4 tablespoons, but that gets spicy!)

You are ready to serve! Top with another scoop of jalapeños and a drizzle of robust olive oil. I prefer tortilla chips with this, but pita chips would be great, too.

Here’s the printable PDF: The Gentleman’s Black Eyed Pea Hummus

Enjoy!

xo,

The Gentleman Caller

Motormouth Gang Mac and Cheese

Printable PDF at the bottom of the page!

Knock knock knock.

Gentleman Caller.

Ladies and gentleman, I have made quite a reputation for myself…

…for making the best mac and cheese. Ha, you dirty skank, you thought I was talking about something else.

When I was playing Link Larkin in Hairspray, occasionally the “Motormouth Gang” would have functions or events without the “Nicest Kids in Town.” It was not some kind of slight or oversight, it was simply that particular group of friends having a hang. However, on one occasion, I, Austin Miller Link Larkin, was granted an invitation to hang at a potluck situation with the Motormouth kids. Here’s what I’m going to tell you as a sweeping racial generalization: black people know how to cook.

Hairspray
Las Vegas Production
2/4/06
Credit Photo: ©Paul Kolnik
NYC
212.362.7778
studio@paulkolnik.com

I knew immediately what I was taking. Two pans of mac and cheese. I had mastered mac and cheese, and this was going to be an opportunity to prove myself.

To this day, in New York City, other people in the Broadway community ask me about my mac and cheese. It’s not that hard. I pray it’s not a technique / instinct thing.

Here’s what you need:

  • 2 cups half and half
  • 2 cups milk
  • 5 tablespoons butter
  • 4 tablespoons flour
  • 1 teaspoon season salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper (or white pepper if you don’t want to see it)
  • 1/8 teaspoon fresh grated nutmeg
  • 1 tablespoon finely grated white onion
  • 20 ounces extra sharp cheddar cheese**, divided & grated
  • 1-16 ounce package elbow macaroni, cooked to package instructions

**A delicious option is 12 ounces extra sharp cheddar and 8 ounces Gruyere cheese. Up the nutmeg to 1/4 teaspoon.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Spray a large and deep casserole dish with cooking spray such as PAM. Combine milk and half and half in something you can pour from.

In a large saute pan, melt the butter. Sift the flour into the melted butter and whisk together at medium heat. Cook the roux. It should get bubbly and really bind. Add all the seasonings and grated onion.

Whisk in the milk and half and half a little at a time. Keep whisking. Whisk. Whisk. Do not stop. Turn the heat up a little. It should bubble. It should start to obviously thicken to the consistency of runny pancake batter. Remove from heat.

Add all but 2 cups of cheese to the pan you’ve been whisking. Stir it all together to melt the cheese. Add all the cooked macaroni. Stir to combine.

Pour into casserole dish. Top with remaining cheese.

Put into the 400 degree oven for about 20 minutes. Depending on how hard you like your cheese topping, you may want to go another 5 minutes. Just don’t let it get too dry.

Don’t eat the whole thing or you’ll be sick!

I offered the gruyere option above and honestly that’s how I most often do it. But my sweetie Terry LaVelle Mercedes Tammy Spectra wanted the straight up recipe so that’s what this is!

All for now,

TGC

MOTORMOUTH GANG MAC AND CHEESE

Balsamic Pineapple Salad – More acid than a 60’s flashback (video)

Knock knock knock.

Gentleman Caller.

Now that Trip of Love has closed (sadly) and I am taking a tiny break, the weekend is for brunch. Hell, any time is for brunch. Who doesn’t get down with brunch fare?

Pineapple is one of my favorite fruits; number two behind cherry. Even though it is a huge pain in the ass to cut up and leaves little black things that resemble mouse shit on your cutting board, that sweet tart acidy flesh makes everything ok.

I didn’t want to serve a block of straight up pineapple today, so I set the wheels in motion.

Here’s what I ended up with.

What you’ll need:

pineapple1

  • one ripe pineapple
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 1/3 cup(ish) fresh or frozen blueberries
  • 1/2 tsp citric acid
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar **see note at the end
  • at least 5 sprigs of fresh mint

Spread the blueberries on the bottom of a small saucepan; cover in honey. Add juuust enough water to cover (appx 1/3 cup). Crank up the heat. When a simmer is achieved, reduce heat and allow to cook.

pineapple2

Here come the knife skills: peel the pineapple, core it, try not to eat it. Good luck. I like my pieces cut into 1/4 inch slices with about an inch of width. Sprinkle the citric acid on the chopped pineapple. By the time you finish that, the blueberries should be cooked. Mash them with a fork. Allow them to continue to reduce. If it looks dry, add a splash more water. You do not want it to be watery. You want it to be syrupy. A good test is seeing if it just coats the back of a spoon.

Once achieved, take the blueberries off the heat and stir in the 2 tablespoons of balsamic.

Most likely there is some syrup residue on the sides of your sauce pan. We want that. Put the pineapple into the sauce pan and let it get all that syrupy syrup all over it.

Chop your mint pretty finely. Toss it in.

Put this all in a bowl or serving dish and allow it to cool before serving.

pineapple3

Just a hint: if you aren’t serving cheesy eggs, grab some chèvre, put it down on your serving plate and put this all over the top. Heaven.

Can you believe this is good for you? Shhh, I never said that.

Bye for now.

The Gentleman Caller

**Balsamic vinegar comes in a multitude of varieties. This recipe doesn’t call for a tart screw top bottle variety. The bottle should be well aged and have a cork. It doesn’t need to be super expensive, but it should be corked.

Pairings: works beautifully with Italian Brunch Pudding.