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Peanut Butter Burger

By Melvin Browne

peanut-butterburger-body2

So I was on a trip to New Orleans last week. While staying the French Quarter, I somehow wandered into a restaurant bar on Bourbon Street and I still can’t remember the name of (it was that kind of week lol). A friend ordered some food and of course I just ordered another drink. So while finishing up my Hand Grenade, my friend asks me if I want some of his Peanut Butter Burger. Immediately the New York in me said “Hell No!” But then I became a lil curious and since I was in New Orleans, I decided to go ahead a have a bite. It was one of the most delicious weird combinations ever! I still can’t get the burger out of my mind even till this very hour. So I thought I share the recipe with you, plus I found some great reviews on a restaurant in Harlem that serves the Peanut Butter Burger as one of their Signature Burgers. I’m headed there tonight, so I hope you guys try it at home or head up to Harlem with me!

Peanut Butter Burgers
Prep Time: 5 Minutes
Cook Time: 10 Minutes

Ingredients:

1/4 Cup creamy peanut butter
1 lb Ground chuck
1/2 Teaspoon salt
1/4 Teaspoon pepper
Slices of Cheddar Cheese **Optional
Pieces of Bacon **Optional
Butter or margarine
5 Hamburger buns

Directions:

In a large bowl, with fork, lightly mix peanut butter, ground chuck, salt and pepper just until combined Divide into 5 burgers, about 1/2 cup for each one. Then flatten gently and arrange in large skillet, not overlapping. Cook over medium heat about 4 minutes to a side or until done to desired doneness. Serve on buttered buns and top with extra peanut butter!

Check Out Harlem Public and try their Signature Peanut Butter Burger and be sure to tell us what you think! 3612 Broadway, New York 10031 (Btwn 148th & 149th St) (212) 939-9404

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TIMELESS ETIQUETTE

By Chef LoveJones

Too often I am asked to form my opinion on simple niceties and etiquette when in mixed company and I would like to share some key points.  Kidz, here we go!!!

GROUP DINING AT RESTAURANTS:

If there is a special event or celebration for groups, always assume that if you’re dining with more than 6 people (including yourself) that the check is going to be divided evenly amongst everyone.  NOTE: If it’s a birthday, be sure to include your portion of the bill for the person you are celebrating. If you know that you have no interest in splitting the check, be sure to tell the server before you order.   This will help the process move without error on server’s part.

Take into account any significant ($15 or more) price differences in orders. If someone only orders soup and everyone else orders 2 to 3 courses, it’s not fair to make them pay the same. If there are a couple people not drinking alcohol while the rest of the group is, separate the beverage total to take this into account and don’t overcharge the non-drinkers.

TIPPING:

Try to keep some class about yourself and respect service businesses. At a restaurant, always leave a tip. Tips can vary from 15% to 25%.

WAITER/SERVER: 15% to 20% of the bill; 25% for extraordinary service
WINE STEWART: 15% of wine bill
BARTENDER: 10% to 15% of bar bill
COAT CHECK: $1.00 per coat
VALET: $2.00 to $5.00

NAPKINS:

Trust me, napkins are not mere decorative items; please use them as you consume your meal. As soon as you are seated, remove the napkin from your place setting, unfold it, and place on your lap. Please, do not shake it open (so not cute!). Several formal restaurants may have their servers apply your napkins after you are seated, but it is not inappropriate to place your own napkin in your lap, even when this is the case.

The napkin should remain on your lap until the end of the meal. Don’t clean the cutlery or wipe your face with the napkin. NEVER use it to wipe your nose; it’s for your food maintenance around your mouth ONLY! If you excuse yourself from the table, loosely fold the napkin and place it to the left or right of your plate. Do not refold your napkin or wad it up on the table either. Never place your napkin on your chair. At the end of the meal, leave the napkin semi-folded at the left side of the place setting. It should not be crumpled or twisted; nor should it be folded. The napkin must also not be left on the chair.

SOURCE: United States Dining Etiquette Guide

Great Cocktail Party Appetizers: Drunken Candied Nuts

By Chef LoveJones

With the holidays fast approaching, many of you will opt to entertain friends and family at home and today’s economy doesn’t leave much room for one to have multiple elaborate hor douvers and appetizers.  As one of my favorite nut options that always look great, tastes amazing add to your fabulosity, therefore, I suggest serving Drunken Candied Nuts!  Yes, few of your guests may have nut allergies; its their loss and loose their chances of pure goodness!

  • 2 Egg white
  • 2 ¼ Tbsp. flour
  • 2 Cup Brown Sugar
  • ¼ tsp. Salt
  • 1/8 Cayenne Pepper
  • 2 tsp. Peach Schnapps
  • 1/8 tsp. Meyers Run
  • 1 ½ Cup pecan halves
  • 1 ½ Cup Cashews
  • 1 ½ Cup Hazelnut

ADVICE:  For the allergy driven few, direct yourself towards the mini quiches…

INSTRUCTIONS: Add egg white to a bowl and whisk them until foamy.  Grease one sheet pan with unsalted butter or veggie oil or take out 2 Silicon Pads, then preheat your oven to 275°. Gradually beat in the brown sugar mixed with flour.  Now, infuse the salt then.  With your spatula, evenly fold in all of your nut choices. Lastly, add all well covered nuts to your previously greased baking sheet-pan or Silicon Pads and bake for approximately 40-45 minutes. Best served warm, but can be magnificent at room temperature.  Also great for dessert topping of salads!

Don’t forget to visit me at my blog: Chef LoveJones Presents (http://lovejonesepicure.wordpress.com/)

Big Fudgy Bittersweet Brownies

By Deena Hamza

Do you ever feel like your weekend just flew by because you’re constantly working? I feel like that all time. The funny thing is when Friday rolls around I make all these plans to relax, enjoy family time and even reflect. Unfortunately my reflection process begins just as I’m ready to fall asleep. Let’s fight back my G.O.Ps! A united front – bowls, spatulas and oven mitts out because it’s time to bake some brownies – healthy brownies that is.

Ingredients:

  • 1 large egg
  • 1 egg white
  • 3 tablespoons plain non-fat yogurt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1/3 cup canola oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 3 ounces high-quality unsweetened baking chocolate, chopped
  • 1/3 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup buckwheat or pre-sifted whole wheat flour

Directions: Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Lightly coat an 8-inch-square non-stick baking pan with cooking spray. In a small bowl, whisk together egg, egg white, yogurt, and vanilla extract; set aside. In a small saucepan, combine sugar, oil, salt, and 3 tablespoons water, stirring constantly for 3 minutes on medium-high heat. Remove from heat; stir in cocoa and chocolate until chocolate melts, then add egg mixture. Add all flour, stirring until batter is smooth. Pour batter into baking pan. Bake 25 minutes, or until top is firm. Cool completely in pan on rack. Cut into 9 squares.

Give them a try, they’re sure to please the chocolate lovers. Enjoy! ~Deena

Healthy Salad Dressings

By Deena Hamza

Straight from my kitchen to yours (totally LOVE Paula Deen and her immensely unhealthy recipes like the Lasagna Sandwich)!

Ranch

  • 1 oz. (1/8 of a cup) pkg. of dry ranch style salad dressing
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1 cup low fat yogurt

Thousand Islands

  • 1 cup low fat plain yogurt
  • 1/4 cup ketchup
  • 1 tsp. mustard
  • 1/2 tsp. horseradish
  • 1/2 tsp. onion powder
  • 3 tbsp. chopped dill pickle

Onion Salad Dressing

  • 1/2 cup wine vinegar
  • 2 tsp. grated onion
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1/8 tsp. lemon pepper
  • 1/2 tsp. dill
  • 1/2 tsp. minced parsley
  • 1 tsp. water

Lemon Dressing

  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. celery salt
  • 1/4 tsp. paprika
  • 1/4 tsp. powdered mustard
  • Pinch of cayenne
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 3 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1/2 cup safflower oil

Try these healthy versions of classic salad dressings or try a classic dressing made of equal parts mustard and balsamic vinegar. It’s my personal favorite. ~DEENA

The Wedding and the Wedding Cake!

By Chef LoveJones

“THE MOST DANGEROUS food a man can eat is wedding cake.”—20th century Americana. The “Big Day” haunts all life partner engagements; however, choosing the wedding cake seems to be the most challenging.  Here are a few tips on the best way to achieve your goal, sans the climactic drama.

  1. Upon choosing your color scheme and fabrications, be sure to bring your story-board to the cake designer/caterer.
  2. Selecting your flavor profile is key! The celebratory cake is not only a symbol of your union, but will make a light statement of who you are as a couple.  Be confident and wise in your choices.
  3. Fondant, butter cream, chocolate plastic or royal icing are the finishing options that will determine how elegant you cake will look.  Don’t forget to consider cake an esthetic of edible flowers, ribbon and/or small sculptures (cake topper).
  4. Your cake’s presentation table can be specially decorated as well.  Floral arrangements, fruit and/or candles can be a fantastic and final touch, so heavily consider the event space for inspiration.

LoveJones Yellow Cake Recipe

  • 6 Large Eggs
  • 1 Cup (2 Sticks) Unsalted Butter
  • 2 Cup Baker’s Fine Sugar
  • 2 ¾ Cup All Purpose Flour
  • ¼ Cup Cream Cheese
  • 1 Cup Buttermilk
  • 1 Tbsp. Baking Powder
  • 1tsp Salt
  • 1 ½ tsp. Meyers Rum

INSTRUCTIONS:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees, measure out all ingredients, and prepare three 8” inch pans (buttered and lined with Parchment paper). Mix sugar and softened butter and cream cheese together until smooth, now add eggs one at a time for proper emulsification. Slowly add flour, salt and baking powder to mixture,followed up with buttermilk. Mix on medium speed until thoroughly smooth. Evenly pour in pans and bake for approximately 30 minutes.

WEDDING CAKE RESOURCES:

For specialty cake success stories, check out Chef LoveJones Presents at Lovejonesepicure.wordpress.com

Wedding Season Ideas For Your Good Girlfriend…

By Chef LoveJones

Many of us deal with the same issues that surround wedding planning and its festivities.  When chosen to be the main artery for your bestie’s wedding bliss, one can become quite ‘stressed the hell out!’ The key thing for partners that are exercising their nuptials is to be creative, interactive and making it fun. Yes!  This will be your own Cooking Class amongst friends.  In addition, this will help your honoree make new and delicious dishes to enhance their new union.

As a Chef, I have had great success with Recipe Wedding/Civil Union Showers.  Here is a list of helpful tips to plan the best shower possible:

  1. Collect food ideas (Small Bites, Dinner Entrees, Fine Dessert or Cakes) from person getting married.
  2. Locate a venue
  3. Select Theme a date
  4. Select a small event committee
  5. Select invited guests
  6. Create an invitation that will allow each guest to attach their recipe for the party with RSVP date
  7. Choose best recipes to for group participation
  8. Create a book that will house recipes as a gift to the person you are having the shower for.
  9. Additional gift items should come from housewares stores (i.e. Crate & Barrel, Sur Le Table, Le Crueset, Home Goods, Tuesday Morning, etc.)

Great Tips …

Stale Bread Repurposed for Decadence

By Chef LoveJones

On any given day, there is a laundry list of inquiries cluttering my inbox. However, one of the more popular questions goes something like this:

CLIENT: “When I have left over bread and don’t use it before it gets stale, I’ve realized how much money has been wasted. How can I make good use of it without completely discarding it?”

CHEF LOVEJONES: There are many ways for repurposing bread before and/or after it has become stale (not molded). One brilliant usage is making seasoned croutons! Look at the bright side, with seasoned and toasted artisanal bread cubes your salads will have a new identity.

This past spring, I read a great article by Andrea Karim, Senior Writer of WiseBread.com. She gave fabulous alternatives for on 17 uses of stale bread and a favorite use would be for my White Chocolate Bread Pudding; bread pudding ranked at #10. Hopefully, you will find a favorite of your own, or at least a few…

BREAD PUDDING INGREDIENTS

Large Loaf of stale Brioche (cubed into 1/4 inch pieces)

10 oz. White Chocolate (Lindt or Ghiradelli)

¾ Cup Sugar

8 Large Egg yolks

2 Large Eggs

2 Cup Light Whipping Cream

2 Cup Half & Half

¼ Cup White Chocolate Shavings

DIRECTIONS:
In a saucepan (med-low), heat light whipping cream, adding white chocolate before it starts to boil. When chocolate is melted, remove from heat. Then use a double boiler to heat half & half, sugar, eggs and yolks until warm and fully babbled to blend. Now combine egg mixture into cream and chocolate mixture by blending together. Add Brioche (bread) cubes into you pan, then pour 1/2 mixture over bread and let soak for approx. 30 minutes; then top with rest of mixture. Bake at 300 degrees with cover (aluminum foil) for 40-50 minutes; remove foil and bake 10-15 minutes for top browning. Top with sauce and arrange White Chocolate shavings.

PUDDING-TOP SAUCE INGREDIENTS

8 oz. White Chocolate (Melted)

3 oz. Heavy cream

1 tsp. Bourbon

DIRECTIONS:
Melt white chocolate in double boiler, then remove from heat and mix in Bourbon and Heavy cream.

PLATING SAUCE INGREDIENTS

4 Lbs. Pomegranates

¾ Cup Sugar plus, 1 Tblsp.

¼ Cup Cornstarch

1 tsp. Red Berry Ciroc Vodka

DIRECTIONS:
Cut Pomegranates into halves and remove seeds with large spoon. Place seeds into a heavy-duty strainer and press juice from them into a bowl. Heat a medium saucepan with the pomegranate juice then addition of the sugar, cornstarch and red berry Ciroc vodka and slowly stir with whisk until all ingredients are well blended. On medium heat, stir the sauce gently with a wooden spoon until it thickens. Remove from the heat and let cool to room temperature. Refrigerate for 1 hour – now ready to plate.

Pre Workout Meal: Salmon McMuffin

Salmon McMuffin
*This recipe is ready in 10 minutes and makes 1 serving*

Ingredients:
2 eggs
Non-stick Spray
1 oz lox (thinly sliced cured salmon)
1 whole-wheat thin bagel, toasted
2 tbsp fat free cream cheese
1 medium tomato, sliced

Directions:
1. Beat eggs in a small bowl.
2. Spray medium skillet with non-stick spray and place over medium heat. Pour eggs in pan and add lox. Scramble together until eggs reach desired consistency.
3. Spread bagel with cream cheese. Top each side with tomato slices and egg mixture. Eat open faced.

Nutritional Breakdown:
365 calories, 14 g of fat, 32 g of carbs, 7 g fiber and 32 g of protein

Enjoy! ~DEENA

Chef LoveJones joins HomoCouture this Fall!

By Melvin Browne

HomoCouture has a new addition to the Editorial Team; His name is Chef LoveJones! He will be heading our Food and Dessert Section with tasty articles published EVERY Wednesday.  So get your kitchen clean and prepare for an exceptional adventure of fun and sensational foods.

Chef LoveJones is noted for his creative spin on vintage recipes. He has captured the attention of many notable clients with his creations of such palate pleasures as Amaretto Pound Cake, Sweet Potato Cheese Cake, Haute ‘Chok-Lit’ quad Layer Cake and a Pecan Tart that has not left any dessert connoisseur disappointed. His impressive list of Clients include notables like President Bill and Hillary Clinton, Tyra Banks, J Manuel, DJ ENVY, HOT 97, Essence Magazine, SONY Music, Victoria’s Secret and Black Enterprise. He definitely has too MANY Clients to List!

Inspired by his beloved grandfather William Samuel Jones, LoveJones mixes his own dessert repertoire with boundless personal style. Chef LoveJones is an alumnus of the Institute of Culinary Education and studied Hotel & Restaurant Management at New York University. His creations have been featured and detailed in numerous publications, Macy’s 2005  Cellar Kitchen Presentation, the December 2006 Issue of Essence, the Spring 2007 Issue of FREE, and the F/W Issue of World Bride Magazine, and that’s Just to a few.

I hope our readers are just as excited as we are about Chef LoveJones joining the HomoCouture Team. And we are excited and look forward to his tasty features starting October 4th 2011!

Hidden Calories: Part 1

By Deena Hamza

 

Any food that is pre-prepared and pre-packaged in a box or bottle is full of hidden calories. Even if the calories don’t seem so bad, the ingredients listed to ensure a lower calorie count are harmful to your body. My Precious Gents, I repeat, a healthy lifestyle is NOT just about counting calories. For example, I could eat fast food every day but stay within a 400-500 calorie allowance per meal or I could consume whole grains, lean meats, and a plethora of fruits and vegetables within the same calorie allowance but gain all of the nutrients and heart healthy, lean mass building, fat burning elements required for longevity.

For the purpose of this article, I will break down a few key principles to be kept as an earring in your ear (Mom says this to me a lot when I’m in the process of learning a life lesson however, I feel the oomph is lost in translation). Like to eat salad but only with dressing? Let me break it down for my G.O.P’s.

 

LEGEND:
 cal = k calories (known as calories to the general public)
DV = daily value with 100% being the maximum for the whole day

 

McDonald’s Salad Dressing
                  

Renee’s Asian Sesame Dressing: 130 cal., 9 g fat (14% DV), 300 mg sodium (13% DV)
Renee’s Balsamic Vinaigrette: 110 cal, 9 g fat (14% DV), 400 mg sodium (17% DV)
Renee’s Mediterranean Greek Dressing: 80 cal, 8 g fat (12% DV), 540 mg sodium (23% DV)
Renee’s Mighty Caesar Dressing: 260 cal, 29 g fat (45% DV), 300 mg sodium (13 % DV)

 I chose McDonald’s to demonstrate how lower calorie foods generally end in higher amounts of sodium or salt (and also sugar) and can lead to all sort of ailments like hypertension, diabetes, obesity and chronic diseases of lifestyle. Of all of the choices above, all of them do not fit within my definition of a healthy lifestyle. Why? Anything that I can make at home that will only last a few days to a week as opposed to the high shelf-life of pre-packages foods, tells me that those preserving ingredients/agents will stay in my digestive tract and fester. Au natural my G.O.P’s!

 As you know, I always have a solution for you. Here are a few healthy versions of salad dressings that anyone can whip up: 

 

Ranch
1 oz. (1/8 of a cup) pkg. of dry ranch style salad dressing
1 cup buttermilk
1 cup low fat yogurt

 

Thousand Island
1 cup low fat plain yogurt
1/4 cup ketchup
1 tsp. mustard
1/2 tsp. horseradish
1/2 tsp. onion powder
3 tbsp. chopped dill pickle

 

Onion Salad Dressing
1/2 cup wine vinegar
2 tsp. grated onion
1 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. lemon pepper
1/2 tsp. dill
1/2 tsp. minced parsley
1 tsp. water

 

Lemon Dressing
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. celery salt
1/4 tsp. paprika
1/4 tsp. powdered mustard
pinch of cayenne
1/4 cup lemon juice
3 tbsp. olive oil
1/2 cup safflower oil 
Enjoy my G.O.P’s
D.

Fun-Filled Barbecue!

  

By Thomas Clark     

 It’s June and the idea of barbecuing is becoming the latest weekend activity. Rounding up all your friends and heading down to your nearest barbecuing spot , which is most likely the park, is going to be taxing. But what’s more troubling is what are some of the need to know things when you start this fun filled endeavor. Here is a couple of steps that will help things go a bit smoothly so the day of fun can commenced.   

Step 1.) The is no way of getting around this basic most important step. Your going to need a grill. Any type of grill would do, it doesn’t necessarily have to be expensive, but it should be able to cook everything you plan on eating thoroughly. Eating raw food makes for a bad stomach and a bad barbecue. There are a variety of grills that fall in to one of two categories gas grills and charcoal grills. When it comes to barbecuing in the park charcoal grills are very popular.  

  

Step 2.) Get started early…If you wait until mid-day to start getting the grill out and inviting people down, chances are you will not find a prime spot. In the barbecuing realm its all about being the early bird, so you can have a chance to pick a good enough area to set up. This will prevent you from being left with the area next to the garbage or surrounded by sun. The person manning the grill should be set up in the shade especially because he/she will be over the hot grill most of the time. 

 
Advice 3.) Give people notice on what they should bring before hand. The worst thing at a barbecue, from experience, is running to the store at the last minute because you have to many plates and not enough to drink. This is a perfect segue into step four. 
 
Step 4.) Get a clear idea of how many people are coming. Worst case scenario is you don’t have enough food for all the mouths you have to feed. Leaving people to head to McDonalds after your barbecue. This would give your barbecue an overall bad rating, leaving you as a not-so-popular barbecue host.
 
Step 5.) Come up with a neutral menu selection or take a poll of what should be on the menu, either one of these options is a good way to go. The first would be commonly featured food selection that you will have at a barbecue ( i.e hamburger, franks, salad) The second option is getting everyone to help pitch in and brainstorm about what to eat during this festivity.
 
A last note is setting up the overall groove meaning have other festivities going on, so while people wait for their food to be cooked their having fun and enjoying themselves ( i.e play music, charades, get people talking). If your choosing to have alcohol remember to drink responsibly and wisely. You can get a ticket for having an open drink in public. 
 
P.S – The person manning the grill should definitely know how to cook and be good at multi tasking. It’s a good idea to take turns so he/she can enjoy some of the fun as well. Barbecuing is about coming together with loved ones and enjoying the summer temperature, while getting your eat on. While the heat makes a list of things irritating following these steps would not add barbecuing on it. Take Care!!

Food for Thought

By Deena Hamza

When your Mom made you eat everything off your plate on fish-night because it would “make you smarter” she was right. Fish is full of omega-3 fatty acids, also known as unsaturated fats, and very good for our bodies. Omega -3 polyunsaturated fats are heart healthy, aid in the prevention and maintenance of rheumatoid arthritis, cardiac arrhythmia (irregular heat beat), lowering blood triglycerides, while increasing the breakdown of fibrin (blood clot and scar causing agent), and reducing the overall risk of primary and secondary heart attacks.

Consuming fish or fish oil supplements (omega-3 supplements) has been found to prevent memory impairment, aid in the reduction of psychotic episodes in high risk children and youth, and may even speed up recovery time after a serious bout of depression. The most interesting and promising  use of fish oil or omega-3 supplements is its neuro-protective nature exhibited in individuals with Parkinson’s disease.

Start consuming these supplements when you’re young and you may reduce your overall risk of heart and memory ailments

Another favorite pastime of mine is cooking and baking. I have a healthy and easy fish recipe for all of My Precious Gents to try. Adjust flavorings to your taste but add salt once the meal has been cooked. It’s a simple trick to ensuring a lower sodium diet than our typical Western ways!

Big D’s Sole-Fish Ways

(hahaha get it?!?)

Marinade:
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup lemon juice
1/4 cup dry white wine
1/2 small onion, chopped finely
1 tbsp. low sodium soy sauce (Kikkoman, green label)
1/2 tsp. dried oregano
1/2 tsp. dried basil
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tbsp coarse mustard

 

This marinade works well for all type of fish & seafood
Mix all ingredients together in a glass bowl
(Try not to use a metal/stainless steel bowl as fish takes on that flavor)

Marinade fish for 30 min – 1 hour
Broil, grill or bake in a preheated oven (475 F)

Boil leftover marinade (to get raw fishiness out) and use as a glaze/sauce

**Fish + marinade can be placed within parchment paper when broiling/baking in the oven. Yukon gold potatoes, zucchini, bok choy, spinach, and fresh tomatoes can be placed in the package to create a complete meal. This can also be done by making a tin-foil package.**

Enjoy (be sure to send positive thoughts my way!)
D.