Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Easy Shrimp Chowder

Alright, ya'll. I finally have another actual recipe up here. This is an amazingly easy thing to make. The hardest part is deveining your shrimp....actually I think finding somewhere that offers tail-off, peeled and uncooked shrimp is harder....but my wonderful wife found it. By the way, I got this from Southern Living magazine a couple of years ago. I'm sure it will turn up there again. They do re-run recipes from time to time.

1.5 lbs of uncooked shrimp (peeled/deveined)
1 sm yellow onion, chopped
2 cans of Cream of Potato soup
3.5 cups of milk
.25 tspn cayenne pepper
1 cup Monterey Jack Cheese

Ready, Go! Sautee onion in boiler with some butter (eyeball this one). Add milk soup and cayenne, bring to a boil. (Now be careful and stir frequently because milk has a nasty reputation for sticking to the bottom or burning easily.) Add cheese continue stirring until melted. Add shrimp until it turns pink. Remove from heat and enjoy. This should serve 12 cups of soup.

OK, I'm hungry.

Someone try it and let me know how you like it.

Friday, December 22, 2006

How do you.....

....get your kids to eat vegetables? We used to make turkey meatballs with food processed vieggies (i.e. spinach, zuccini) in them. Really easy to make.

Take a package of ground turkey (dark meat...white meat ruined #3 on them), mix (by hand) with 1 egg, 1 piece of bread from the food processer, with the veggie of choice. Then roll into balls, place on cookie sheet into a 350 degree pre-heated oven. Cook for about 20 minutes until golden brown.

They're great to put in marinara on a French roll if your kids won't eat them.

During a conversation with Pascal about the same thing, he suggested a 20 minute bolongnese spaghetti sauce and I'll blog about that later.

Share with me how you get your kids to eat veggies.

Monday, December 18, 2006


Ok, so this Saturday I worked a small Christmas Party Buffet for 16 people. The menu was Free Range Chicken (I noticed they were on the small side probably due to the fact they're not all genetically freaked out) in a wild mushroom and Cognac sauce, Potatoes gratin, and vegetables julienne. (Sorry, I left my camera at home....I'll remember next time)

Anyway, the food was great and the party was fun for the guests. I was working my tuccus off to make sure they were happy. I even did a beer run after I got all set up. I would complain about not getting a tip, but they customer was happy and the Events Coordinator hooked me up with a ton of food once I got back to the kitchen. A lot of my friends and co-workers ask me how this works and I thought I would take the time to have a catering workshop at the Caddywampus.

Usually, I just show up at the event and serve the food, but occasionally, I will get the call to do one by myself. (These are the ones that get the most questions.)

When I do the "solo" gig, I go to Pascal's and pick up a Cambro that gets stocked with the hors'd oeuvres, a tray of entree, and 2 sides. I will also get the lettuce and fixings to mix once I get there and put the dressing on the side or in the salad.

Once I arrive, I set up the buffet with the chaffing dishes brought in by the rental company or provided by the restaurant...these are pretty easy.

There ya go! I just set it up, let them know what it is and that it is ready and they're off to the feed bag.

The hard part is once the customer gets comfortable having a food server in the house, they have you jumping through hoops to get wine poured in all different directions, serving desserts, coffee and just keeping wine around. The other hard part is telling them you're leaving and they'll have to fend for themselves the rest of the night. (ha!)

It was a fun night and I'll re-live a conversation I had with the owner of Pascal's, Pascal Olhat, in a different post.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

More about the London Broil

Someone asked me to tell more about the London Broil. All I knew about it is that this is not always the easiest to get right. The night I took this picture, I think it was quite a bit over cooked. I had taken it out earlier, but it was just too pink in the middle for the rest of the family. When one has kids, you must make sure you cook it all the way through because consistency is key. I like to let it marinade for a day or so, but that doesn't always happen.

Some nights are better than others, but it usually turns out pretty well.....just not this well done....ha!

Thank you all for visiting the Caddywampus and please come back to contribute your thoughts and stuff.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

My second job

I have a second job as a server for a Pascal's Catering of Newport Beach, California. This is one of his busiest times of year too. So the best part for me is that when I'm serving I also have the opportunity to watch this chef of French styled cuisine. I haven't had the opportunity to ask him too many questions at this point. he seems a little unapproachable, but I'm hoping to overcome this fear. Yes, he is just a man, but he's a little kurt with people from time to time. I like him when I've had a normal conversation with him, but he really gets down to business when it is time to work.

The food is always amazing and this past weekend was no different. He was serving a seafood buffet from the grill. He did

I am hoping to post an interview with some photos of his food.

Monday, December 04, 2006

London Broil, Sauteed Green Beans and what?

Now the other night, I was all excited because I was going to have some red meat. Couldn't wait....big ol' slab of London Broil. Now I had to decide what to have with it. I had just purchased some fresh green beans (subconciously knowing what I was going to do with it). Next I was wondering what my starchy food was going to be. Mashed Potatoes, YUM! No, West, your potatoes are bad; what else do you have? Hmmmmmmmmmm, corn? no. Is there enough salad to have? Oh wait, the kids need to eat something, too. In the mean time, Monkey #1 asked what we were going to have and asked if we could have MacNcheese. "No," I said, "it doesn't go with what I am making." I look in the pantry and could find nothing else. so #1 got her wish. We had a beautiful meal of London Broil, Green Beans sauteed w/sweet onion and Kraft Macoroni & Cheese.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Thanksgiving 2006

Ok, so we went to J's Aunt's house down in South Orange County. It was a beautiful day and we had a great time visiting with the family. Monkey #1 spent the week at Grandma's in San Diego County so it was super great to have all the monkeys together again for the car ride home.
We had a very yummy Turkey with what I'm guessing is the "standard" in stuffing. It's not the same as what I grew up with down south, but was pretty good. We had what was called "dressing" which was a cornbread based stuffing cooked in a 9x13 pyrex pan and it was yummmmmmmmmy. At any rate this was still really, really good. Take a look at the Turkey.

Then J's cousin brought his smoker and smoked a ham. We had a heck of a time keeping it lit....hahahahahahahaha! (singing the Jepardy theme while I wait for the photo to upload)

The best part, however, was that he also did some baked beans! I guess they would be called "smoked beans". Check 'em out.

I would be remiss if I didn't mention the side dish of all side dishes. This is a long standing tradition in my wife's family. It was originally called "Berry Mallow Caserole". It is yams, marsh mallows cran berries. Can anyone guess what name has been migrated into? Since I only about 4 readers, I won't let it go any longer. It is now called "the Barry Manilow". Sorry for the build up, but that's about as good as it gets. Unfortunately, my wife will not allow the recipe to be spread all over the internet. (and she is one of the 4) Here is the picture.

As you can see, it was quickly scooped up. I thought it was silly and I'm not that big a fan of the ingredients; so, this took me a couple of years to aquire the taste. Now I love the Barry Manilow (in small doses), but it is a great side for your Thanksgiving.

Anyway, this was my Thanksgiving at the Caddywampus, which wasn't really at the Caddywampus. How was yours?

Friday, December 01, 2006

Last Night's Dinner: Simple Salmon

This was one of the lamest dinners I've made in quite a while, but I got great reviews from the wife.

It was so simple, I'm ashamed to post it, but I haven't posted in a while.

A nice sized piece of salmon filet with EVOO, sprinkled with lemon pepper and garlic salt put in a 350 degree preheated oven until cooked through (flakey against a fork). This piece of salmon had no skin, so I wouldn't suggest grilling one like this. It makes it difficult to flip unless you're really good at greasing your grill grates which I am not.

Anyway, we were kind of out of food, so we had some canned fruit as a side dish and I got great reviews from J and #1.

Well, there you go...I'll have pictures up from the Thanksgiving feast at my Aunt-In-Law's house. (Turkey along with Ham and Baked Beans on the smoker)

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Caddywampus's why

This site has me beat and I cannot do any better.


Monday, November 20, 2006

Chicken Parmesean: A lot easier than you'd think

OK, so I've seen my wife make this a couple of time and I thought I'd give it a shot. More to the point, I ended up doing it. Yes, I was sceered of screwing it's Chicken Parmesan for goodness sake.

4 chicken breasts
1 Cup flour (all purpose)
2 Cups Italian Bread Crumbs
2-3 eggs beaten
2 Tbl spoons EVOO (Extra Virgin Olive Oil)
1 jar marinara sauce
1 cup of shredded Parmesan cheese (not the powdery stuff)

First pre-heat your oven to 350 degrees. Then, take some saran wrap and put it on top of 2 plates (this is a good trick to make clean-up go quicker) pour bread crumbs on plate and flour on the other. Put eggs in square dish or wide bowl, beat w/fork or whisk. Now, take about 2 feet of saran wrap and place chicken breast and fold it over. Take a meat hammer (tenderizer) and pound the chicken flat. (Trust me!)

Now, dredge the chicken in the flour, dip it in the egg wash and then in the bread crumbs....set it up like an assembly line. Just so you know, I made the mistake of only using the bread crumbs. I did bread crumb, egg, bread crumb style of breading, but after talking with my friend Tim...he reminded me that the flour is like the primer for breading. Any time you're going to bread anything, dredge it in flour first; this helps the breading stick. That's what caused my breading to come off so easy.

While you were breading your meat, you should have a skillet heating up the EVOO. When that's good and hot, place the chicken in the skillet about 2-3 minutes per side. Once you have all your chickies browned, place in 9"x13" pan, pour jar of marinara over it and coat the top of that with cheese. Place in oven (hopefully pre-heated to 350 degrees) and cook for about 20 minutes. That should give you plenty of time to get the angel hair pasta cooked al dente (or whichever stringy pasta). Once the cheese is melty and browning on top, remove from oven and serve over pasta.

Open a nice red (Cabernet is a typically a good choice) and impress your friends with your culinary know how.

Has anyone tried any of the other two?

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

On a Whim, try something you haven't before

The other night, I had some pork tenderloin chops I needed to cook. I was trying to think of the best way to season them and looked in my pantry to find balsamic vinegar. Now, at the time I couldn't think of why I wanted to try it, but I did. I think I remembered that it would sweeten the foot as it was cooked.

So, I sprinkled some Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO), balsamic vinegar, worchestire, then I seasoned it with minced garlic and pepper on top of these chops. After letting that sit for a bit, I took my skillet coated the bottom with EVOO and let it get good and hot. While that was working I turned my oven up to 400 degrees farenheit. (By the way, the idea of pan searing a steak and popping it in the oven to finish it off is the best thing my wife ever got out of Cosmo.)

Once your EVOO is hot, place the chops in for 3-4 minutes on one side to sear the juices in; flip them and pop the entire skillet into the oven for approx. 6-8 minutes. (You want the pork to be done; however, they will increase in temperature as they rest out of the oven. Also, trichinosis has not been found in pork in the US in quite some time....maybe a dozen year.)

This is a great marinade for steaks too! After you cook the meat, you can add water, wine and some mushrooms to the remnant in the skillet for a great sauce.

Try it, people.....and thanks for visiting the Caddywampus Cafe

Just for everyone's information, I will be adding writers to this blog as I would love this to be as interactive as possible. I've got one contributor and would love to have more. Please welcome Timbywa when he shows up!

Monday, November 13, 2006

Fritatta (with whatever)

Over in A New Beginning, I talked about making a Fritatta, which is an open faced Italian omlette. Here's how I do it...I'm not sure if it's right, but it sure does taste good.

2 Tbl spoons of butter (divided)
6 eggs
1/4 Cup of Milk
1 Cup of Cheese
1/4 cup of Olive Oil
Salt & Pepper to your liking (I use cyenne and garlic salt-sometimes)
3-4 slices of ham diced
1/2 med-lg avacado
1/2 bag of spinach (w/out ecoli, please)
3 chopped green onions

1. Pre-heat oven to 350 F. Get 10" omlette (or skillet) pan hot and melt 1T of butter, brown diced ham while doing step 1a.
1a. Beat eggs, stir in milk and continue beating egs (just for a moment or two)
2. Set ham aside and melt remainder of butter.
3. Pour eggs in omlette pan
4. When bottom of eggs seem set, sprinkle ham throughout eggs; repeat with remainder of ingredients
5. Slide skillet into oven until eggs set and cheese browns on top. (Should take about 6-8 minutes)
6. Remove from oven and slide on to FLAT cutting board or plate.
7. Slice, let cool and enjoy.

Now there are lots of ways to make a frittata. Some include dicing potatoes and onions and frying up in a pan before hand. One could use sausage or whatever type of meat you'd like to use. I need to try it with crab, shrimp or lobster....I have seen it prepared with cooked pasta and sun dried tomatoes, but that was a little weird to me. I guess, it's a starch like potatoes.

Someone try this....let me know if you liked it!

Friday, November 10, 2006

Welcome to the Caddywampus Cafe!!

This is the beginning of a dream. Of course after a short stint as a part time manager of the Cedar Creek Inn restaurant, I decided to keep this as a place only in my head. That is, until now. Now it will be a place online to share food stories, opinions, reviews and recipies.

I love to cook for my family and friends. It's kind of like playing music in the sense that the preparation is like recording a song and watching the face of the consumer when the first bite is consumed. You know yourself that something is tasty and you just want someone else to try it.

In my kitchen, I like to just play around and see what kind of good food I can make without having to make a special trip to the store. So far I haven't made too many stinkers; however, there have been a few. (My attempt at a Justin Wilson's home made roux was just sad....I'm sure it was me and not the recipe.)

Anyway, I hope to add some other people to help me with this and make this a community more than me yanking my own chain.

Thanks for coming to the Caddywampus Cafe and we hope to see you again.