Posted in Cookbook, Cooking, Life

Double Turf & Surf Mac & Cheese

Long, long ago, in a small pub seated at the bar, an Allagash White in front of me, our journey begins. I was having dinner with a friend at a favorite local pub when on a whim I decided to order the lobster baked mac and cheese. This is going a few years back now, so at the time, baked mac and cheese was still in the infancy of its rise to popularity in our county. I didn’t know what to expect. I had only had homemade mac a handful of times in my life and none of them were baked. Hell, even to this day I can barely make a box of Kraft that tastes halfway decent. Everything had changed after that night.

This truly American delicacy began popping in restaurants all over the county in no time. Some sucked. Some kicked ass. One that I ran into last summer was smothered in pulled pork. I was totally shocked by that and now its common at barbeque joints around the country. The staple however, seems to be lobster baked mac and cheese. So rich and delicious. Hearty and filling. But it was missing one thing. For years I couldn’t figure it out until one night at hibachi, the answer fell right into my lap. My hibachi usual, surf and turf, would be the perfect baked mac host.

Finally after many moons had passed, surf and turf mac and cheese came to be on a cold February afternoon.

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Prep Time- 30 Minutes

Cook Time- 1 hour

Ingredients

  • 12 ounces steak, lean and diced into bite sized pieces
  • 12 ounces lobster meat, diced into bite sized pieces
  • 3 strips bacon
  • 8 ounces desired pasta (I used Gemelli)
  • 1 10 ounce can enchilada sauce
  • 1 7 ounce can chipotle peppers in adobo sauce
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 3 tablespoons flour
  • 3 cups milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 medium shallot, diced
  • 1 egg
  • 16 ounces shredded cheese (I used Cheddar and Monterey Jack)
  • 1 cup panko breading

Directions

  1. In a large skillet, combine enchilada sauce with chipotle adobo and mix well. Heat over medium to medium-high heat. Stir in beef and bacon. Simmer for 5 minutes with the lid on, giving the pan a shake periodically. Reduce to low and remove the lid, cooking an additional 7-10 minutes. When complete, chop the bacon and set all meat aside. Cook liquid on high heat for 3 minutes, ensuring all bacteria are neutralized. Reserve for later. 20170217_141509
  2. While meat is simmering, cook your desired pasta to al dente. Drain and set aside
  3. Over low to medium heat, combine butter and flour and begin stirring together to make a roux. Stir for 5 minutes, making sure there are no flour pockets and that it is well blended. After 5 minutes, add milk, paprika, cumin, chili powder and shallot. Simmer for an additional 10 minutes.20170217_145148
  4. After 10 minutes, temper an egg into the milk mixture, making sure it does not instantly cook when touching the hot liquid. Stir in 6 ounces of each cheese blend until well mixed.
  5. Place pasta in a baking dish or oven safe pan. Mix in the beef and lobster. Pour the cheese blend over the top and stir together thoroughly.
  6. Use the remaining cheese as a topping. Sprinkle one cup of panko on the top of the dish and top with the chopped bacon. For a golden crisp, place a few slivers of butter on the top to assist the panko.20170217_150811
  7. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. Let cool for 10 minutes. Use the sauce from the beef as a spicy topping. Serve and enjoy.

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And there you have it. While fairly easy, this is definitely a time consuming recipe. So much fun to make, especially if you have company in the kitchen so don’t be afraid to get some help. I know what I will do different next time, but sadly that information is for me and I can’t share. I mean I could, but i’d have to kill you.

Stay hungry my friends.

 

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Posted in Cookbook, Cooking, Life

The road forward

In my last blog, I talked a little bit about where I was with a particular category in the cookbook. Now is a good time to expand upon that and paint a picture of the coming months. 

This cookbook is broken down into two main categories spring/summer and fall/winter. Up until now I have focused heavily on the fall and winter section, with a deep emphasis on winter cooking. So far there has been a lot of oven and crockpot cooking for dishes that in my opnion, are relatable to this time of year. Right now I have nearly 10 recipes logged for this section. Due to when I started this project I have the ability to return to the category in 7-8 months and explore cuisine that is inspired by the uniqueness of fall, its seasonal vegetables and changing weather patterns. So what does that mean?

My next step in this journey is game planning for the future, focusing on recipes for subcategories & lastly to start editing the aforementioned section of the book. Each of these is going to be critical going forward for staying on track with my personal deadline as well as trying to be innovative and remain focused.

With spring and summer around the corner, it will be super important to have a game plan for those months. Taking into account various holidays, celebrations, seasonal favorites and cooking style, I hope to greatly diversify the recipe portfolio the book will have. Keep the oven turned off and get those grills fired up. Healthy selections that are bright, crisp and delicious. New twists on warm weather favorites from around the globe. By preparing and creating now, I can execute with better efficiency going forward.

During the first 10 weeks of this process, I have unfortunately made some subcategories like sides, breakfast and cocktails the step child. While I game plan for the upcoming seasons, I will have a great opportunity to focus on the categories and catch up. No meal is complete without amazing sides or the perfect drink!

Lastly, I get to start working on the fun part. Editing. Having a section under control created a good time to begin tweaking the layout to meet my needs. Font, size, spacing, boarders and everything in between needs to be established to create consistency and the style I want. Who wants to read a recipe in MLA format? That’s sounds terrible!

I’ve found that much like in other aspects of life, I’m staying on track by writing it down. Task lists, ideas, upcoming projects and things to remember. We’re surrounded by so much technology but the pen and paper is where the magic happens. Keep track and stay on track…
Stay hungry my friends

Posted in Cookbook, Cooking, Life

Test Cooks Needed

Over the last month I’ve been working diligently on my cookbook. With category intros started, ideas flowing and numerous recipes created, it’s time to have them prepared and tested by others. This is a super exciting time for this project because it will allow me to get an objective view on what I’ve done so far and to see if my creations are feasible, easily duplicated and most importantly, if they need to be reworked. 
With that in mind, it’s time to fill you all in on the purpose of this cookbook. As of now my running title is “The Sexy Guys Cookbook- A Guide To Stepping Up Your Game In The Kitchen & With The Ladies”. So many guys (and girls) are totally clueless in the kitchen. Unable to craft anything that takes time, patience or finesse. I want to be able to show guys how much fun it is to cook and how something simple can brighten up the day of those around you. If you’re trying to impress her or him, or looking to put something together for a get together or potluck, nothing is better than a homemade meal to set the mood and win their hearts. 

Now to the fun part. As stated, I need people to test a few recipes for me. Sticking with the theme of the book, I’d like to get input from a few guys, but ladies please don’t hesitate to reach out if interested. Right now my focus is on hearty meals that are perfect for fall and winter. Going forward, that will change with the seasons as we move towards summer and our diets change.
If interested, contact me via social media, email or the phone. All of that information is listed in my wordpress blog (mrvacc.wordpress). I will select a few recipes for you to choose from and whatever you select, I will send the recipe to you via email.

Thanks again for the support and as always, stay hungry my friends!

Sean 

Posted in Cookbook, Cooking, Life

What I thought this would be

When I decided to write a cookbook, I wasn’t really sure what to expect. I’m not an author and I know anything about the writing process. Where do I start? What do I do? How do you begin to conceptualize a cookbook? Do I have any credibility? Does that even matter? Sure enough, it’s been coming to me!

After hours of coming up with categories and ideas, finding a purpose for the book and a necessity for it, while finding it within myself to fully embrace the challenge I created, I feel like I am on the right path. I know a lot of people probably thought it was just talk… that it was just an idea. That nothing would come from it. But, like I said, I have invested countless hours into this project so far. So much of it has been brainstorming and writing with so little of it being cooking up until now, that I’m excited for the transition. When I was away on vacation this past week, I spent hours sitting at my parent’s breakfast bar writing intros and category descriptions. Getting my ideas and philosophy on paper, even in a rudimentary form, has helped pave the way for continued exploration and adventure in the kitchen. It has helped legitimize my efforts, keep me focused, keep me hungry and most importantly it has made me want to see this out. Not to say I did it. But to pave a future for me that was previously unimagined. To know that in some way I made a difference in someone’s life by teaching them how to make something delicious or to help build their confidence in the kitchen.

Now it’s come down to the cooking. Sure I need to go back and redraft literally dozens of documents, but there is always time to do that. Just having a start is good enough at the time being. Right now I sit with almost a dozen recipes in the book over 5 categories. But there are many more to come. Many more nights blending spices and trying to innovate. Many more lunches at work telling myself I could have done better. So many opportunities to get it right on my day off. I’m excited for all of that. I’m excited to see what the future holds for this project. The challenges have been real and they have been fun.

At the end of the day isn’t that what we all want? Something real. Something challenging. Something grounding.

 

Stay hungry my friends

 

Posted in Cocktails, Cookbook, Cooking

…..and here we go

When I announced this project, I promised small sneak peaks of ideas and recipes that will be in this cookbook. So far in my prep work, I’ve game planned about 40 recipes over half a dozen categories. While the ideas I share may or may not make the cut, this one is a shoe in!

For anyone who knows me well, they know I have a Sunday tradition to celebrate the day when I have it off from work. Hit the gym, run my errands and pick up my supplies for this Sunday and brunch staple. The Mimosa! This drink is so easy to make, refreshing and incredibly customizable. Sometimes you have to keep it simple and stick to the classic, but I generally prefer a more bold approach. In my recipe you’ll see that I like to switch it up a little. While not revolutionary, this drink has stood the test of time for a reason.

The Mimosa- This brunch classic is everybody’s Sunday morning favorite. Here’s the original and a few modification to take it next level.

 

  • ¾ cup champagne or sparkling wine
  • ¼ cup orange juice
  • Directions
    • Mix champagne or sparkling wine with orange juice.
    • Serves 2

 

  • Pro tip- take this classic to the extreme by switching out orange juice with something more explosive like orange-peach-mango or pineapple juice. Achieve a beautiful color with cherry grenadine  syrup or get wild by floating an ounce of your favorite cranberry flavored energy drink on top… you know, the one that gives you wings! Lastly, a little bit of rum on top goes a long way.
Posted in Cookbook

The Beginning 

Recently, yesterday or the day before i cant remember, I made an announcement that I’ll be starting a journey to write a cookbook. What better way to share updates then to start a blog and actually use it! Follow my journey on wordpress under the name mrvacc, and stay tuned for more updates about the book and the various things I involve myself in.

So far I’ve received tremendous support from people backing my idea and willing to help! Thank you all for the encouragment and wanting me to get this project off the ground and help me see it to fruition. As I continue writing and cooking, ill expose you all to sneak peaks of some of the recipes in the book in addition to the theme im going for.

As always, message me for any comments, questions or recipe contributions you want me to include, as well as getting involved in the process!

Thanks again,

Sean

Twitter- @Mrvacc89

Instagram- mrvacc89